World Bulletin/News Desk
A Turkish court has launched on Monday fifth trial of Mavi Marmara flotilla trial of four top Israeli commanders accused of a deadly 2010 raid on a Turkish flotilla ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The accused including Former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former Navy Chief Eliezer Marom, former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin and former Air Force Intelligence Chief Avishai Levy did not attend the hearing at Istanbul court.
Huseyin Oruc, one of the plaintiffs, said in his testimony they were exposed to direct attacks of Israeli soldiers on the flotilla and heard expressions insulting Turkey from radiotelephones.
An indictment prepared by an Istanbul prosecutor seeks 9 aggravated life imprisonment sentences for each of the four Israeli top commanders.
"Israeli soldiers think Turkey will give up on the trial but we will never give up on the trial. The reason why we went there was to breach Israel's blockade. We will not have proper relations until the blockade has been removed. Nobody has the right to give in. We were attacked and we will never retreat," Head of The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) Bulent Yildirim said.
He added that if their demand is not met by the court and Israeli officials are excused for their hostile acts, then the “whole world will see how we fill the streets [to protest against the decision].”
A group of people from IHH and other non-governmental organizations gathered in front of Istanbul Court and opened Palestinian flags shouting anti-Israel slogans.
Mavi Marmara, a ship in Gaza-bound aid flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) in 2010 was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials with the intention of breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip.
On May 31, 2010, Israeli soldiers boarded the ships from speedboats and helicopters to attack, and killed nine Turks aboard, which worsened the relations between Turkey and Israel.
If the trials are dropped in Turkey, the families and their lawyers said, they will continue their struggle in international judicial institutions such as the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), on the grounds that the Turkish judiciary did not properly perform its duties.
At least four killed after strong winds hit several provinces across the country
Ex-diplomat Philippe Moreau Defarges makes controversial comment on French TV about assassination of Turkish president
People from all over Turkey and major cities of the world celebrate the special day; PM Yildirim visits Ataturk's mausoleum
Counter-terrorism operations in Sirnak province continue
Controversy casts doubt on the objectivity of OSCE after its members were accused of spying and supporting PKK
Turkish military also seizes several explosives, guns and artillery; 1 PKK collaborator captured
If EU does not accept new proposal, refugee deal to come to a standstill, EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik says
According to preliminary reports, an assailant has been killed in the blast in Suruc, Sanliurfa province
Analysts say passing of constitutional referendum should see near-term improvement in currency
Total number of returned refugees under Turkey-EU deal reaches 1,074
Thursday evening's shooting left one police officer dead and two others wounded
Weekly military operations report says 5 soldiers killed
Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will discuss situation in Syria, Kremlin spokesman says
March figures from Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges show yearly drop in new firms
Turkish president hopeful Trump will take actions regarding Gulen, US-based mastermind of Turkey's July 15 coup attempt
Economy minister says Chinese visa procedures on Turkish businesspeople detrimental to trade ties