First Published: 2009-02-06

Turkey probes Israel 'war crimes' in Gaza

Turkish prosecutor launches probe into whether Israel committed genocide against humanity in Gaza.


Middle East Online

Israel's 22-day offensive on Gaza killed more than 1,300 Palestinians

ANKARA - A Turkish prosecutor has launched an investigation into whether Israel committed genocide and crimes against humanity in its offensive in Gaza, his office said Friday.

The investigation follows a complaint lodged by the human rights association Mazlum-Der against several Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and army chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

"Every complaint merits an investigation," the spokesman said when asked whether a probe had been launched into Mazlum-Der's complaint.

Under Turkish law, prosecutors are obliged to look into all complaints to determine whether there are grounds to initiate a full-scale investigation that could lead to formal charges.

If the prosecutor decides the complaint does not merit a case, it will be dismissed.

In its petition, Mazlum-Der accused Israel of carrying out "direct attacks on civilians with the aim of annihilating them" and employing internationally-banned weapons in the process.

"The suspects, who wanted to wipe out the Palestinian people through systematic attacks, have committed genocide and crimes against humanity," it said, demanding that the suspects be detained if they enter Turkey.

Turkish law allows for the trial of people accused of genocide or crimes against humanity even if the crimes were committed abroad.

Turkey, one of the few Muslim allies of Israel, harshly criticised the Jewish State over the war in Gaza amid almost daily anti-Israel demonstrations across the country.

Israel's war on Gaza killed 1,330 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and wounded 5,450 others.

Among the dead were 437 children, 110 women, 123 elderly men, 14 medics and four journalists.

The wounded include 1,890 children and 200 people in serious condition. Six hundred injured people have been transferred outside Gaza for treatment.

The war also left tens of thousands of houses destroyed, while their residents remained homeless in the winter cold.


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