Ashkenazi slams Turkey indictments: Common sense will prevail (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Yoav Zitun Published: 05.28.12, 21:22)
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Following Turkey´s indictment against top IDF commanders for
involvement in Marmara raid, former IDF chief stands by soldiers;
says ´if price for standing my ground is not visiting Turkey – I´ll
pay the price´
Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has reacted on Monday to the
indictment which was filed in Turkey against him and other senior IDF
officers who were involved in the overpowering of the Marmara ship in
"Israel´s relationship with Turkey is important as both countries
have common interests which include maintaining stability in the
Middle East. I´m sure that eventually common sense will prevail,"
"From the moment the affair broke out, I chose to stand up in every
forum, often alone, to defend the IDF soldiers who performed their
duty on the field for the Israeli nation," the former chief of staff
noted. "If the price for standing my ground is that I can´t visit
Turkey – I´ll pay that price too."
In addition to Ashkenazi, the Turkish court formally pressed charges
against former Navy commander Eli Marom, former Air Force official
Avishai Levy and former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin all
involved in the raid.
According to the Turkish court, the senior officials face 10
consecutive life terms in prison for "inciting to kill monstrously,
and by torturing."
The 144-page indictment has been prepared after testimony from some
600 people, including 490 passengers from the six-ship flotilla and
relatives of those who had died. The charges against the military
officers include four counts of first-degree murder, intentional
assault and torture of 114 pro-Palestinian activists.
The indictment which was prepared by Istanbul state prosecutor Mehmet
Akif Ekinci, suggests that should the four arrive in Turkey they
would be immediately arrested.
Israeli officials had no immediate comment.
Judge Yaakov Turkel who headed the inquiry committee into the events
of the Gaza flotilla said that "Israel acted in accordance with
international law." The commission cleared the soldiers of any use of
unnecessary violence, stating: "It is possible to determine that the
IDF soldiers acted professionally and with great presence of mind in
light of the extreme violence which they hadn´t expected."
A United Nations probe into the incident found Israel´s naval
blockade of Gaza legally imposed "as a legitimate security measure"
but added that the killing of eight Turkish activists and a Turkish-
American was "unacceptable."
Turkey has rejected the Palmer report findings, saying Israel had no
right to raid the ship in international waters and said it would
never recognize the blockade´s legitimacy.
Turkey has also slapped a series of sanctions on Israel – once a top
military trading partner – that included expelling senior Israeli
diplomats and suspending all military deals.
Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza after Hamas seized control of the
coastal territory from their Fatah rivals in 2007. Israel allows
humanitarian aid and goods into Gaza via land crossings after
inspection for weapons.
´Mainly a declaratory act´
Meanwhile, law experts said that the chances of the commanders
actually being put on trial are slim to none. Prof. Ruby Seibel, the
former legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry and a Hebrew University
law expert, warned that Turkey may ask other countries to extradite
the four IDF officers.
"Such an occurrence seems unlikely as no rational country would
extradite the Israeli officials to Turkey. It´s obvious that Turkey´s
actions are political and derive from utter frustration over Israel´s
refusal to apologize to Ankara for seizing the flotilla," said Seibel.
Seibel added that "Turkey´s decision to indict the top officials is
mainly a declaratory act, seeing as it never demanded the officials
be handed over. However, I would advise the officers not to travel to
Turkey in the near future, because if the Turkish government does
issue out an arrest warrant, it is likely the police will abide by
Attorney Irit Kahn, former head of the International Department at
the State Prosecutor´s Office claimed that Ankara knows that Israel
is unlikely to extradite the officers to Turkey. She further noted
that the likelihood of other countries handing over the officials
was "far-fetched." (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 05/28/12)
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