Turkey will put four of the most senior former Israeli military commanders on trial in absentia Tuesday for the killing of nine Turks on the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara in 2010, Reuters reported.
Israeli naval commandos commandeered the Mavi Marmara in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, killing nine Turks after they were attacked by violent activists in clashes on board.
.A Turkish state prosecutor is seeking multiple life sentences for former chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former OC Navy Eliezer Marom, former OC Air Force Amos Yadlin and former head of Air Force intelligence Avishay Levi,. The prosecutor wants prison sentences of more than 18,000 years for each of them for their roles in the incident.
The trial is set to begin in Istanbul on Tuesday, but Israel has dismissed it as a “show trial” and “political theater.”
Turkey has demanded a formal apology, compensation for victims and the families of the dead, and for the Gaza blockade to be lifted.
Israel, stressing that its solders were attacked with clubs and poles by violent thugs aboard the vessel, and insisting that its blockade against terror group Hamas-run Gaza is legal, has said it “regretted” the loss of life, rather than issuing a full apology, and has offered to pay into what it called a “humanitarian fund” through which casualties and relatives could be compensated.
A UN report into the Mavi Marmara incident released in 2011 concluded that Israel had used unreasonable force in stopping the Mavi Marmara, but that the blockade on Gaza was legal.