The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lucy P. Marcus
The Great Debate
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Our best photos from the last 24 hours. Slideshow
Download our Wider Image iPad app
Images of October
Fort Hood shooting victims sue government, accused shooter
05 Nov 2012
Wall Street jumps as energy gains hint at Romney victory
Obama congratulates Romney on "spirited campaign"
From Sudan to cyber, secret war with Iran heats up
Americans vote after long and bitter campaign for White House
Jobless rate seen rising, offering Obama no relief
Fuel scarce, East Coast struggles to recover
Ryan says Obama compromises Judeo-Christian values
Israelis on trial in Turkey over Gaza ship deaths
Turkey begins trial of Israeli military over Gaza ship killings
Israel kills Palestinian man near Gaza border: medics
Sun, Nov 4 2012
Israel kills Hamas gunman, Gaza salvo hits Israeli city
Sun, Oct 28 2012
Picture shows captured Turkish journalist in Syria alive
Sun, Oct 28 2012
Israel says 79 rockets fired at it from Gaza
Wed, Oct 24 2012
Analysis & Opinion
The neocons’ war against Obama
Tweeting Turkish pianist Fazil Say denies religious insult charge
Investing Simplified »
Middle East Turmoil »
1 of 5. Protesters shout anti-Israel slogans during a protest in front of a court house in Istanbul November 6, 2012. Hundreds of protesters chanting ''Murderer Israel!'' gathered outside an Istanbul court on Tuesday at the start of a trial of a group of former Israeli military commanders charged over the 2010 killing of nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship.
Credit: Reuters/Osman Orsal
By Ece Toksabay
Tue Nov 6, 2012 12:16pm EST
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey on Tuesday opened the trial in absentia of former Israeli military commanders charged over the 2010 killings of nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship.
The proceedings against four of Israel's most senior retired commanders, including the ex-head of the army, has been dismissed by Israel as a politically motivated "show trial" and threatens to further strain already fraught relations.
Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip. Nine Turks were killed in clashes on board.
Hundreds of protesters chanting "Murderer Israel!" gathered outside the Istanbul court on Tuesday as witnesses and relatives of those killed in the raid began to arrive.
"Murderer Israel, get out of Palestine!" the crowd chanted as others held up a banner with the words: "What is the difference? Hitler = Israel".
Inside the courtroom, the presiding judge began hearing testimony from those who were aboard the aid flotilla during the 2010 raid and from relatives of the dead. Some 500 people are expected to give evidence.
Dressed in black Islamic head-to-toe covering, Nimet Akyuz, the wife of one of the activists killed on the Mavi Marmara, broke down as she described the moment she learned her husband was dead. Others wept as she spoke.
"I was at home with my daughters when I found out my husband had died. We know they will never suffer the pain we did, but we want those responsible to be punished," she said.
"We want our voice to be heard and the international community to acknowledge Israel's cruelty."
Ann Wright, a former U.S. colonel who was on one of the smaller ships, described how Israeli troops had boarded their vessel, firing paint bullets and tossing stun grenades.
"One of the reasons I went on the flotilla is that I felt compelled to challenge Israeli policy to impose an illegal blockade on Palestine and the U.S. policy to support Israel's illegal actions," she told the court.
The indictment prepared by a state prosecutor seeks multiple life sentences for the now-retired Israeli officers over their involvement in the nine killings and in the wounding of more than 50 others.
The 144-page indictment names Israel's former Chief-of-Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and three other senior commanders. It lists "inciting murder through cruelty or torture" and "inciting injury with firearms" among the charges.
Israel says the accused have not even been notified of the charges.
"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," Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, told Reuters TV.
Israel and NATO member Turkey, which both border Syria, once shared intelligence information and conducted joint military exercises, cooperation which has since been cancelled.
Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and froze military cooperation after a U.N. report into the 2010 incident released in September last year largely exonerated the Jewish state.
The report deepened the rift when it concluded that Israel had used unreasonable force but that its blockade on Gaza was legal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in July that Israel and Turkey needed to repair their relationship, but attempts to rekindle the strategic alliance have failed.
Turkey has demanded a formal apology, compensation for victims and the families of the dead, and for the Gaza blockade to be lifted.
Israel has voiced "regret", falling short of the full apology demanded, and has offered to pay into what it called a "humanitarian fund" through which casualties and relatives could be compensated.
While the breakdown in ties has produced a sharp drop in the number of Israeli tourists to Turkey, other business has flourished. Bilateral trade increased from more than 3 billion dollars in 2010 to more than 4 billion in 2011, according to Turkish data. Trade for the first nine months of 2012 was around 2.7 billion dollars.
(Additional reporting by Jerusalem Newsroom; Writing by Jonathon Burch; Editing by Andrew Roche)
Middle East Turmoil
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.