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November 6, 2012 4:15 pm

Turkish Court Trying Israeli Officers in Absentia in Flotilla Case

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Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi visits the Communications & Computers Branch School. Ashkenazi is being put on trial by Turkey for the Gaza Flotilla incident. Photo: IDF.

A Turkish court has begun a trial of four high-ranking Israeli officers in absentia for their involvement in the 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident.

The trial, which commenced Nov. 6, is likely to further strain relations between the former regional allies. Israel has rebuffed Turkish demands for an apology over the May 2010 incident in which Israeli commandos killed nine activists—including eight Turks and one Turkish-American, who violently attacked the commandos as they bordered the ship, Mavi Marmara, headed for Gaza.

The accused include former Israeli military chief, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and three other senior Israeli officials.

Turkish prosecutors are asking for a combined 18,000 years in prison for crimes such as “inciting murder through cruelty or torture” and “inciting injury with firearms” according to Israel Hayom.

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“The ‘Blue Marmara Trial’ due to commence on Nov. 6 in Istanbul clearly falls under the category of a show trial; an act which has nothing to do with either law or justice,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry said.

A UN report on the incident concluded that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal and that violent activists on board the Mavi Marmara had attacked Israeli commandos, but also accused Israel of using disproportionate force against the activists.

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