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Turkey Seeks Life Sentences for Flotilla Raid

A special prosecutor in Istanbul has prepared indictments against the four top Israeli commanders who led the 2010 raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship.

The 144-page indictment seeks 10 aggravated life jail sentences for each commander, including former Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, according to the English-language daily Turkish news service Today’s Zaman, citing the Sabah daily.

The other Israeli commanders to be indicted reportedly are Israeli Navy commander Vice Adm. Eliezer Marom; Israel’s military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin; and Air Forces Intelligence head Brig. Gen. Avishai Levi.

The indictment mentions 10 “slain Turks.” Nine Turkish nationals, including a Turkish-American man, were killed during the raid, A tenth man remains in a vegetative state, according to Zaman. The indictment also reportedly refers to 490 victims and complainants, including 189 people who were reported injured in the attacks.

Sabah said the indictment had been submitted to Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Turan Çolakkadı, who is expected to approve the request to submit it to the appropriate court.

Israeli naval commandos on May 31, 2010 boarded the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid, after warning it not to sail into waters near Gaza. Nine Turkish nationals were killed in the ensuing clashes.

Israel’s government-appointed Turkel Commission found in its investigation that the government and the military behaved appropriately, and that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal.

The United Nations’ Palmer Committee also found the blockade to be legal but said Israel used excessive force while boarding the vessel. .

Turkey’s inquiry deemed the Gaza blockade and the Israeli raid to have been illegal.

Ankara has called on Israel for an official apology and compensation for the raid, and for the lifting of the naval blockade of Gaza. The two countries have broken off diplomatic relations and military agreements since the incident.

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