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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' 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.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs