The State Department has told both Turkey and Israel to “cool it,” even as Israel has largely reserved comment and tried to downplay the crisis while Ankara continuously escalates its rhetoric and threats. The saber-rattling has gone in one direction.
And now, this. The charges are ridiculous, and are an attempt to intimidate and blackmail Israel by now making threats not only as one state to another, but threatening to attempt to ruin individuals’ lives, and possibly to endanger them by publicizing their identities and leaving them vulnerable to individual acts of revenge.
“Report: Turkey obtains names of flotilla raid soldiers,” from YNet News, September 9:
Amid rising tensions between Israel and Turkey over the Palmer Report, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor approached the Turkish intelligence services in a request to reveal the identities of the Israeli soldiers involved in the May 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara ship, in which nine Turkish civilians were killed.
The request came after the prosecutor approached Israeli authorities for the information last May, but did not receive a reply.
Meanwhile, a lawyer affiliated with IHH– the Turkish group that organized the flotilla — claimed the organization handed the prosecutor a list with over ten names of IDF soldiers that were onboard the vessel, Turkish newspaper al-Zaman reported on Friday.
Appalling, if true:
“We have handed the list to Istanbul’s prosecutor and are now waiting for arrest warrants,” said Attorney Ramzan Turk, adding that the list is based on information received by other IDF soldiers who “regretted the incident and gave me the names of the soldiers.”
Ramzan noted that the soldiers who provided the names did not take part in the raid.
In addition Zaman’s claims, the prosecutor reportedly also approached the intelligence services for a list of names, a move which would enable to start proceedings against a long list of Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Navy Commander Adm. Eliezer Marom and other officials involved in the flotilla raid.
The soldiers that participated in the takeover may face charges of premeditated murder and torture, as well as restricting the passengers’ freedom of movement, the report said.
Meanwhile, Ankara diplomats on Friday stressed that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s north African tour will not include a visit to the Gaza Strip.
“Turkey doesn’t want to enrage the Egyptian authorities,” an Ankara official explained the move.