Turkey to Issue Indictments Regarding 2010 Flotilla Incident

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The Mavi MarmaraA Turkish state court has finished its investigation into the May 2010 IDF raid of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid flotilla, where the Israeli boarding party was attacked, and nine of the pro-Palestinian Turkish activists traveling aboard the vessel were killed in the ensuing conflict.

While two investigative commissions have already released reports on the incident—the Israeli-led Turkel Commission and the United Nations Palmer Committee—Turkey challenged the conclusions of the previous reports and conducted an independent investigation declared complete last week, according to Turkish news reports.

Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin spoke last Tuesday to update followers on the progress of Ankara’s investigation, saying the prosecution was ready to issue indictments, and was waiting for the country’s Foreign Ministry to procure personal information about the IDF raiders of May 2010 from Israeli authorities.

Turkish media sources released a list last year of the names of 174 IDF soldiers suspected to have participated in the raid, but Ankara authorities soon realized the list was erroneous, according to Yediot Aharonot. The latest Turkish request was presumably an attempt to gather the correct names from Israel for legal purposes.

“When we receive the information, we will issue indictments to the relevant courts,” Ergin said, the Anatolia news agency reported, according to Today’s Zaman, an English-language Turkish publication.
In February 2011, Israel announced the results of the Turkel Commission, a report which used testimonies from PM Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi to investigate the legal justifiability of the Gaza blockade and the resulting flotilla raid.

The commission concluded that the IDF raiders actions were, however unpleasant, consistent with international law.

“Actions carried out by Israel on May 31, 2010, to enforce the naval blockade had the regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and physical injuries,” the report read, according to The Jerusalem Post.  “Nonetheless, and despite the limited number of uses of force for which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law.”

Many believed the Israeli report was insufficient to gain international credibility. In September of 2010, the UN Palmer Committee Report—coauthored by a panel of arbiters from Israel, Turkey, Columbia, and New Zealand— also published its findings. The commission verified the legality of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, but reprimanded the soldiers for using “excessive force” aboard the flotilla.

“The loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces during the takeover of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable,” the Report said, according to the Post.

A Turkish investigation into the Mavi Marmara placed blame on Israel for setting up a blockade and also sending commanders aboard the flotilla, calling both activities illegal.

Israel is not expected to assist Turkey in its investigation.