TURKISH JUSTICE PURSUES ISRAELI COMMANDERS
The trial of four Israeli commanders charged for
orchestrating a raid on the Mavi
Marmara aid flotilla resulting in nine deaths
commenced on Tuesday in Istanbul. During yesterdays
hearing a father to one of the victims, a 19-year-old
Turkish American not only cried himself, but he brought
the whole court room to tears.
The trial on the May 31st, 2010 violent raid by
Israeli forces on the "Mavi
Marmara" a flotilla which intended to transport
humanitarian aid to Gaza began yesterday in Istanbul.
Proceedings for the case on the attack in the
Mediterranean's international waters, which resulted in
nine deaths, are being held at Istanbul's Seventh High
The trial seeks nine terms of aggravated life
sentences for former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief
of General Staff Gen. Rau Aluf Gabi Ashkenazi, Naval
Forces Commander Vice Adm. Eliezer Marom, Israel's
military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin and Air
Forces Intelligence head Brig. Gen. Avishai Levi for
"inciting murder through cruelty or torture."
The indictment, which requests each suspect be served
18,032 year sentences also includes charges of "inciting
property damage", "inciting looting",
"and inciting torture "," obstructing
communication "," deprivation of freedom ","
instigating harm and instigating manslaughter".
Suspects Ashknazi, Marom, Yadlin and Levi are being
tried in absentia. According to Chief Judge Ümit Kaptan,
the notification sent out to the defendants was never
received and as a result the court was unable to verify
During the proceedings, Ahmet Dogan, a professor at
Erciyes University and the father of Furkan
Dogan the 19 year-old Turkish American peace activist
who was killed in the raid, explains that he heard the
news of his son's death from his wife's screams. "When
we didn't see him get off the plane, I thought that he
either fell into the sea, was sent to the United States
or may have been detained in Israel. When I went to the
Forensics Institute to identify his body, I still refused
to consider it a possibility that he was dead. However,
the body they showed me there was Furkan's. He had been
shot in his forehead, right between the eyebrows and he
was smiling." It was at this point during his
testimony that Dogan was unable to hold back his tears.
Others also began crying in the courtroom.
Furkan's father went on to explain that the autopsy
report proves his son was murdered intentionally. "The
Israeli commandos saw the red light on his video camera
and they began shooting to injure him. Then they went
right up to him and intentionally murdered him by
shooting at close range."
'THE CASE IS AGAINST ZIONISM'
Speaking in front of the Istanbul Court of Justice,
Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH) President Bülent Yildirim
pointed out that 37 nations are seeking justice in this
trial and stated, "This case is not against Israelis.
This is a trial opened against Zionist murderers. This
will pave the way for Palestinian cases. The commanders
who ordered the Mavi Marmara raid will not even be able
to face their own children," stated Yildirim.
'WE ARE HERE FOR JUSTICE'
Peace activist complainants in the case from Spain,
Palestine and Belgium flew out to attend the first
hearing. The oldest activist on the ship, 88-year-old
Palestinian Haci Ismail Nasvan stated, "All I want
is for Israel to be held accountable and to pay for this."
European Parliament Green Party member Nicole Kill-Nielsen
stated, "What matters is that Israel is being tried.
This trial will be a source of hope for those
Palestinians that are currently serving time in Israeli
Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor
Lieberman harshly criticized the case against Israeli
commanders by calling it a kangaroo court and assuring
once again that Israel will not apologize.
"Instead of cooperation with Israel to solve
problems in our region, the Turkish authorities are
creating more unnecessary conflicts and tensions. We have
respect for Turkey and its citizens but we will not
apologize for fulfilling our duty [by] defending Israeli
citizens," he said.
"We will continue to do everything we can to
defend the Israeli officials and all of our brave
soldiers from 'lawfare,' the new combat used against them,"
Israeli Foreign Affairs Spokesman Yigal Palmor also
spoke out against the case, stating, ""This is
not a trial, this is a show trial with a kangaroo court.
This is a trial taken right out of a Kafka novel, a
grotesque political show that has nothing to do with law
and justice," Palmor stated.
Two giant balloons which read "Israel is being
tried" were hung outside of the courthouse, where
signs containing the names of the commanders on trial
were written along with the words "Wanted 1 Lira".
Protestors who came out to support the trial wrote
down slogans on a huge board erected outside of the
Singer Murat Gögebakan came out to the Çaglayan
Courthouse in a show of support.
There were Arabic, English, Hebrew, French, Spanish
and Greek translators on hand during the hearing.
The suspects were represented by attorneys provided by
the Istanbul Bar Association.
A wide number of journalists and television channels
from France, Belgium, Spain, German, USA, China, Saudi
Arabia, Lebanon, Iran and Israel covered yesterday's
This is a translation of an article originally
written by Murat Sengül, Orhan Yurtsever, Bilge Eser,
Ali Oktay, Mesut Er, Recai Kömür.