Daily Israel Report

Turkey Ends War Crimes Probe of Israel

Turkey has put an end to a probe of IDF operations in Gaza. The probe was initiated by an Islamist group that accused the IDF of war crimes.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/30/2009, 7:15 PM

Turkey has ended a probe into IDF counterterrorism operations in Gaza, Turkish news agencies reported Thursday. The Turkish Justice Ministry reportedly declined to grant prosecutors permission to file an indictment.

The probe was initiated by the Islamist organization Mazlum-Der, a human rights group. The group accused Israel of deliberately attacking Gaza civilians “with the aim of annihilating them” during fighting earlier this year.

Prosecutors wished to charge several Israeli officials, among them President Shimon Peres, with genocide and war crimes. According to Turkish law, cases involving genocide or crimes against humanity may be tried in Turkey even if the crimes were committed abroad, but only if the Justice Ministry grants its approval.

Relations between Israel and Turkey were strained following the Gaza operation. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of committing war crimes, and stormed angrily out of the World Economic Forum's Davos conference after confronting President Shimon Peres.

Israelis responded by changing their Passover travel habits. Roughly 10,000 Israeli tourists chose to travel to Crete or Bulgaria rather than Turkey. The move caused some Turkish hotel directors and other senior tourism industry workers to call on their government to consider the economic impact of lashing out at Israel.