News / Middle East

Turkey Starts Trial Against Israelis Involved in 2010 Raid

Image made from video provided by TVNET, June 4, 2010, shows bodies shrouded in sheets and flags on board the aid ship Mavi Marmara after a maritime showdown between Israeli commandos and activists on board the ship.
Image made from video provided by TVNET, June 4, 2010, shows bodies shrouded in sheets and flags on board the aid ship Mavi Marmara after a maritime showdown between Israeli commandos and activists on board the ship.
Dorian Jones
A trial began in Turkey on Tuesday against four Israeli military commanders accused of leading a raid on the high seas against a Gaza-bound aid ship - a raid that resulted in the death of nine activists.

Hundreds of protesters chanting anti-Israeli slogans gathered outside Istanbul's main courthouse as the trial opened.

"People from every nation and every religion with a conscience are here to hold Israel accountable for 1,000 years-old history," one woman said. "May God help us succeed in our case."

With citizens from 37 countries due to participate in the trial, but not the Israeli commanders, the Turkish media is describing it as the world's largest international trial. Israel has dismissed the proceedings as politically motivated, calling it a "show trial."

Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, is seen in Istanbul, Turkey on May 30, 2011.Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, is seen in Istanbul, Turkey on May 30, 2011.
x
Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, is seen in Istanbul, Turkey on May 30, 2011.
Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, is seen in Istanbul, Turkey on May 30, 2011.
The boat Mavi Marmara was leading an international flotilla of ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists seeking to break Israel's economic blockade of the Gaza Strip, when it was intercepted by Israeli forces in May 2010.

Israel claims its forces acted in self-defense. But Turkish prosecutors are demanding life sentences for four of Israel's most senior retired commanders, including the former head of the army.

Turkish-Israeli relations have collapsed since the raid. Semih Idiz, a writer for the Turkish newspaper Milliyet, warned the case can still further strain relations.  

"Any court situation that provides a platform for what Israel sees as enemies of Israel is not welcome," he said. "Turkey is not a negligible country in this part of the world. And to have a Turkish court highlighting Israeli crimes, quote unquote, is not a comfortable thing and this court is attracting a lot of attention in the Middle East. So there is a gallery for Turkey in going through this and that is what is bothering Israel."

Observers said there is widespread anger in Turkey at Israel over the deaths, in particular among the grassroots supporters of the prime minister's Islamic rooted party. Turkish presidential elections are expected in 2014.

International relations expert Cengiz Aktar of Bahcesehir University said "with such a nationalist and actually nationalist rhetoric, the prime minister of Turkey will never dare, for a second, [to] re-establish relations and especially now right before the Israeli elections in January. I think he has made out of the anti-Israeli policy a permanent agenda item out of his future presidency. So he will want yield on that."

The trial is predicted to further hamper efforts - in particular by Washington - to rebuild relations between its two key allies in the region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has made recent overtures to Turkey, indicating it maybe moving closer to Ankara's demands for an apology and compensation to families of those killed.

But last month, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his demand for Israel to end its embargo against Gaza in return for a normalization of relations.

Diplomatic columnist Idiz said Ankara has little interest in a rapprochement.

"There is an asymmetrical situation here. Netanyahu needs improved relations and Erdogan doesn't, and he can't really afford to be aiming for improved relations when the public has not felt there is enough atonement on Israel's side for the killings," he said.

Ankara is expected to pursue the extradition of the commanders through Interpol, but observers say such attempts are unlikely to succeed and will only further worsen tensions between the countries.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SAS from: Atlanta
November 11, 2012 8:19 AM
Thank you, Turkey.

by: Chris from: New Hampshire
November 07, 2012 1:56 PM
Well done Turks.. Someone should tell israel that it has its limits on using American support

by: Mashkant from: Turkey
November 07, 2012 5:43 AM
Turkey always protected the Jews.! always.!! we respect and admire Jews. always

by: Hans from: Germany
November 07, 2012 2:28 AM
what a shame... that is were the rot begins... or the stench of putrefaction of disease that already in an advanced stage of decay... the subversion of the legal system... well, good luck to you Turkey... we all know where that will end for you...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More