ISTANBUL – A Turkish court has decided to prosecute three high-ranking Israeli military officers for the death of nine Turkish activists on board the aid ship Mavi Marmara almost two years ago, according to Turkish media reports on Monday.
At the time the ship was heading for Gaza to deliver aid supplies and try to break the Israeli blockade of the tiny enclave. The Israeli army attacked the ship in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish activists. Turkey now wants to prosecute the chief of general staff at the time, Gabi Ashkenazi, and also the commander of the navy and a high-ranking intelligence officer. The prosecutor wants a nine-fold life sentence for ‘inciting monstrous murder and death by torture’.
The chance of the officers being extradited to Turkey to face the judge is zero. In Israel they are not regarded as criminals.
The court case could last for months, if not years. If they are indeed convicted, an arrest warrant could be issued against them, but even then, the possibility of them ever being in a Turkish jail is negligible.
The attack on the Mavi Marmara happened two years ago this Thursday. The incident lead to a decline in relations between the former allies Turkey and Israel. Turkey demands an apology, Israel refuses to give one.