Turkey to conduct investigation into flotilla raid

[JURIST] The Turkish Foreign Ministry [official website] announced Wednesday that it will conduct an investigation [press release, in Turkish] into the May flotilla incident [JURIST news archive], in which Israeli forces raided several Turkish ships bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip [BBC backgrounder]. The investigatory commission will operate under the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [official website, in Turkish; BBC profile] and will prepare a report to be presented to the UN panel established earlier this month [JURIST report] to investigate the incident. The Turkish commission includes officials from the Foreign Ministry and the ministries of Justice, Interior and Transportation. The commission's findings are expected to be presented to the UN panel before it submits its first report, expected in September. The commission will join another set up by the Turkish government shortly following the flotilla incident. The earlier commission was set up to investigate criminal charges against Israeli leaders [Hurriyet report] involved in the incident, such as murder and piracy [JURIST news archive]. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu [official profile] urged the Israeli government to admit sole responsibility [Haaretz report] for the incident. Israeli actions are also being investigated by another UN panel established by the UN Human Right Council (UNHRC) [official website], with which Israel is not expected to cooperate [JURIST reports].

The Israeli government has established two internal commissions to investigate its response to the flotilla, one military and one civilian [JURIST reports]. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official website; BBC profile] testified before the civilian commission Monday that Israel did not violate international law [JURIST report]. During his testimony, Netanyahu expressed confidence that the commission would find Israeli actions to be in compliance with international law and explained the Israeli response to the flotilla in the context of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas [CFR backgrounder]. Netanyahu continued to accuse Hamas of "at least four war crimes: inciting to genocide; systematically and intentionally firing on civilians; using civilians as human shields; and preventing visits by the Red Cross to kidnapped IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit." Earlier this month, an Israeli military probe found insufficient intelligence and planning [JURIST report] in the raid in a report, but also concluded that no punishments were necessary. Israeli forces raided six ships attempting to deliver more than 10,000 tons of aid to Gaza in May. The raid left numerous wounded and resulted in the deaths of nine pro-Palestine activists—eight Turks and one American.

 

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