News / Europe

Israeli Troops Fired from Air in 2010 Ship Raid, Turkish Court Told

A banner depicting the faces of the nine men killed, displayed on the Mavi Marmara ship, on its returns, in Istanbul, Turkey, 26 December 2010.A banner depicting the faces of the nine men killed, displayed on the Mavi Marmara ship, on its returns, in Istanbul, Turkey, 26 December 2010.
x
A banner depicting the faces of the nine men killed, displayed on the Mavi Marmara ship, on its returns, in Istanbul, Turkey, 26 December 2010.
A banner depicting the faces of the nine men killed, displayed on the Mavi Marmara ship, on its returns, in Istanbul, Turkey, 26 December 2010.
Reuters
An anti-war activist told a Turkish court on Thursday that Israeli commandos opened fire from a helicopter during a raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship three years ago, countering Israeli assertions that the soldiers had acted in self-defense.
 
Israeli marines stormed the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla carrying aid to Palestinians, on May 31, 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip. Nine Turks were killed in clashes on board.
 
The incident triggered a diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey, two of Washington's strategic allies in the Middle East, and relations remain fraught.
 
The trial in absentia of four retired Israeli commanders, including the ex-head of the army, opened in Istanbul last November and resumed on Thursday with testimony from those who were aboard and relatives of the dead.
 
Israel has dismissed it as a political “show trial”.
 
Kenneth O'Keefe, an Irish-Palestinian former U.S. Marine turned anti-war activist who was on board the aid ship, told the court that Israeli soldiers had started shooting from the helicopter, killing several people.
 
“Within 5 to 10 minutes after the Israeli helicopter approached the ship, I ran into Cevdet Kiliclar's dead body on the deck, before any Israeli commando had boarded the vessel,” O'Keefe said, referring to one of the Turkish activists.
 
“He must have been shot from the air. After seeing Kiliclar's dead body, I went upstairs to the top of the deck and saw several people lying on the ground, wounded or dead.”
 
A September 2011 U.N. report into the incident cited an Israeli commission of inquiry as saying that three stun grenades were thrown from the helicopter but no shots were fired as the Israeli soldiers descended onto the vessel.
 
“The soldiers from the first helicopter were met with an extreme level of violence from a group of passengers on the vessel. They were shot at and attacked with clubs, iron rods, slingshots and knives,” the report said, summarizing Israel's own investigation.
 
It said the Israeli soldiers resorted to lethal weapons “in response to the violent resistance faced”.
 
Little sign of rapprochement
 
Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and froze military cooperation after the 2011 U.N. report largely exonerated the Jewish state and concluded that while Israel had used unreasonable force, its blockade on Gaza was legal.
 
NATO member Turkey set precise conditions for normalizing its once-extensive ties - an apology, compensation and Israel lifting its embargo on Gaza.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama brokered an apology from Israel in March and delegations from the two countries subsequently discussed compensation terms, but there has been little sign of concrete progress since then.
 
The Turkish indictment seeks multiple life sentences for the now-retired Israeli officers over their involvement in the nine killings and the wounding of more than 50 others.
 
The 144-page indictment names Israel's former Chief-of-Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and three other senior commanders. It lists “inciting murder through cruelty or torture” and “inciting injury with firearms” among the charges.
 
A few hundred protesters waved Palestinian and Turkish flags and chanted anti-Israeli slogans outside the Istanbul courthouse. The hearing was adjourned to March 27, 2014.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid