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Israel Law Ctr: Erdogan Should Be Tried for Mavi Marmara Deaths

An Israeli lawyer contends Turkey’s prime minister should be tried for the deaths of nine who clashed with IDFsoldiers on the Mavi Marmara.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 3/27/2013, 1:29 PM

Turkey's PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey's PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Reuters

An Israeli law activist contends that it is Turkey’s prime minister, rather than Israel’s naval commandos, who should have been tried for the deaths of the nine men who clashed with Israeli soldiers on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center, expressed outrage in a statement to Arutz Sheva slamming the apology to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the deaths of those killed by the commandos during the clashes.

Immediately following the incident which involved the Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel in an illegal attempt to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza, Israel’s long-time ally broke off high-level diplomatic relations with the Jewish State.

Erdogan has consistently refused to reinstate relations despite all attempts by Israel to restore the ties, insisting on a formal, public apology by Netanyahu in addition to compensation to the families of each of the dead, as well as a lifting of the blockade.

Last Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama personally intervened during his first visit to Israel since entering the White House, handing the phone to Netanyahu to make the required apology after first speaking himself with Erdogan.

But Darshan-Leitner – as well as many others – is extremely critical of the move, calling the decision to apologize “pathetic pandering to an Islamic extremist who compared Zionism to facism.” 

The human rights attorney pointed out in her statement that Turkey is “still trying to indict Israeli officers for war crimes” over the incident.  Instead, she contended, “Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan should be tried for the deaths of the activists on the Marmara...”

The United Nations, which investigated Israel’s blockade of Gaza, long ago determined the Jewish State is in full compliance with international law in using the measure to prevent the import of weaponry to terrorists in the region, she pointed out.

“The flotilla, which was provided material support by the Turkish government, was a provocation designed to endanger the lives of Israeli sailors,” she wrote, adding, “the Israeli government [displays] that it is still not free from U.S. pressure.”

The Israel Law Center took legal action against the insurance companies holding policies on the Mavi Marmara to prevent the vessel from attempting another, similar provocation the following year.

In December 2012, the group won a multimillion dollar lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. against the government of Syria involving the Turkey-based PKK terrorist organization. In the case, the judge ruled Syria was liable for the PKK’s 1991 kidnapping of a group of American archaeologists leading an excavation in Turkey.