Turkey rejects probe Israel both prosecutor, defendant, judge

Turkey's FM said, "The fact that a defendant is both prosecutor and judge, constitutes contradiction to law."

Turkey rejects probe Israel both prosecutor, defendant, judge

Turkey's Foreign Minister dismissed any Israeli probe over deadly Gaza ship attack, saying "The fact that a defendant is both prosecutor and judge, constitutes contradiction to law."

The objection comes as Israel's cabinet approved on Monday an Israeli inquiry into its own deadly raid on a Gaza aid flotilla that Israeli commandos killed the nine Turkish Gaza aid activists, including a 19-year-old boy who held dual Turkish-U.S. citizenship, in international waters of the Mediterranean on May 31. Around 30 people were wounded in the attack.

"Israel's internal inquiry is not valuable to us. We want an international commission to be set up under the direct control of United Nations..., an impartial one with the participation of Turkey and Israel," Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference in Ankara on Monday.

Davutoglu said an international participation in commission that will be established by Israel would not be an international one.

Replying to a question, Davutoglu said, "the crime was committed in international waters, not in Israel's territorial waters. A commission which will conduct an inquiry into an attack staged in international waters should be international. We demand that an international commission should be formed under the supervision of the UN with participation of Turkey and Israel. We will insist on this matter. We lost our citizens in this attack."

Davutoglu said his European counterparts also supported Turkey's demand for international commission.

"Turkey expects the international community to take action on the matter. Otherwise, there will be some measures to be taken by us," he added.

"The fact that a defendant is both the prosecutor and judge, constitutes contradiction to law," he said.

"We have no trust at all that Israel, a country that has carried out such an attack on a civilian convoy in international waters, will conduct an impartial investigation," Davutoglu told reporters.

Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador, cancelled joint military exercises, and called for Israel to end its blockade of 1.5 million Palestinians.

"US already happy"

However, the White House has already welcomed the proposed Israeli inquiry, and said Israel was capable of conducting a "fair" probe.

"While Israel should be afforded the time to complete its process, we expect Israel's commission and military investigation will be carried out promptly," a White House statement said.

"We also expect that, upon completion, its findings will be presented publicly and will be presented to the international community."

"No questioning"

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet voted unanimously to set up an "independent, public commission" headed by retired Israeli Supreme Court judge, Jacob Turkel, Netanyahu's office said.

It will include two other Israelis -- an international law expert and a former general -- and two non-voting foreign observers: David Trimble, a Northern Ireland politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Canadian jurist Ken Watkin.

The panel's mandate, as stipulated in an official statement issued on Sunday, did not appear to pose a threat to Netanyahu's political survival as it did not include an examination of his government's decision-making role in the raid.

Instead, it will examine "whether Israel's Gaza blockade and the flotilla's interception conformed with international law and also investigate the actions taken by the convoy's organisers and participants", the statement said.

Netanyahu has said soldiers and officers who took part in the raid or planned the operation would not testify before the commission.

The panel would be able to use testimony given to a separate military board reviewing operational details of the assault. The civilian commission will publish a report, but it was not immediately clear when it would issue its findings.

Israel rejected a proposal by U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon for an international panel.

On Sunday, the International Committee of the Red Cross said the blockade violated the Geneva Conventions and called for its lifting. It said "the whole of Gaza's civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility".

Arab League chief Amr Moussa visited the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the highest Arab official to do so since 2007, and also called for an end to Israel's blockade of the Palestinian territory.

Taking steps?

Israeli companies have been among the main recepients of lucrative tenders to equip the Turkish army.

"If an international commission is not set up and Turkey's rightful demands are ignored, Turkey has the right to review its relations with Israel and take measures," he said.

Turkey had said would reduce economic and defence ties with Israel just after the killings.

One project, worth 183 million dollars, involves the manufacture of 10 unmanned aircraft and related surveillance equipment for the Turkish army in a joint venture led by Israel Aerospace Industries.



Related news reports:

Red Cross: Israel siege on Gaza illegal punishing civilians

Arab League: Israel's siege on Gaza must be broken


Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Haziran 2010, 11:04