An investigation into whether Israel committed genocide and crimes against humanity in its offensive in Gaza has been launched by a Turkish prosecutor, said his office.
The investigation follows a complaint lodged by the human rights association Mazlum-Der against several top Israeli officials : Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, Ehud Barak, the defence minister, and Gabi Ashkenazi, the army chief of staff.
“Every complaint merits an investigation”, the spokesman told AFP news agency on Friday 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.
The complaint will be dismissed if the prosecutor decides it does not merit a case.
‘The aim of annihilating’
In a 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”, said the petition, demanding that the suspects be detained if they enter Turkey.
Even if the crimes were committed abroad, Turkish law allows for the trial of people accused of genocide or crimes against humanity.
More than 1 300 Palestinians were killed and 5 300 others injured in Israel’s 22-day offensive last month on Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Though Turkey is one of the few Muslim allies of Israel, it strongly criticised the assault on Gaza, amid almost daily anti-Israel demonstrations across the country (photo, from aljazeera.net).