Turkey to try Israeli commanders over Mavi Marmara raid

A court in Istanbul is to begin the trial in absentia of four retired Israeli military commanders over the storming of a Turkish boat in 2010.
Nine Turkish activists died when Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara as a flotilla tried to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza.

The storming of the ship led to a major rift in relations between Turkey and Israel.
If the four are convicted, the court could issue a warrant for their arrest.
The Mavi Marmara was carrying 600 pro-Palestinian activists towards the Gaza coast when it was intercepted by the Israeli navy in international waters in May 2010.
Israel insists that its commandos acted in self defence after they came under attack by Turkish activists on the boat.
A UN inquiry found that Israel's blockade of Gaza was "a legitimate security measure" and that Israeli troops had faced "significant, organised and violent resistance" when they boarded the ship.
However, it said Israel's decision to board the ship and the use of substantial force was "excessive and unreasonable".
Israel, which carried out its own investigation into the raid, has expressed regret for the loss of lives.
In May, Turkish prosecutors charged four retired Israeli military commanders. Among the indictments are "inciting murder through cruelty or torture".

The accused are former Israel army chief of staff Gen Gabi Ashkenazi, ex-naval chief Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, former head of military intelligence Major General Amos Yadlin, and former head of the air force Brigadier General Avishai Lev.
Nearly 500 people who were on board the ship during the raid are expected to give evidence.
The Israeli embassy in Ankara has called the trial a "unilateral political act with no judicial credibility".
It says the issue should be dealt with through dialogue between Israel and Turkey.
International pressure following the deadly raid led Israel to ease its blockade of the Gaza Strip, allowing in more food products.

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