Turkey launches 5th hearing of Mavi Marmara trial

Turkey has begun 5th Mavi Marmara flotilla trial of 4 top Israeli commanders blamed for a deadly 2010 clash on a Turkish flotilla ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza

Turkey has begun 5th Mavi Marmara flotilla trial of 4 top Israeli commanders blamed for a deadly 2010 clash on a Turkish flotilla ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza

ISTANBUL - A Turkish court has launched on Monday fifth trial of Mavi Marmara flotilla trial of four top Israeli commanders accused of a deadly 2010 raid on a Turkish flotilla ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The accused including Former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former Navy Chief Eliezer Marom, former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin and former Air Force Intelligence Chief Avishai Levy did not attend the hearing at Istanbul court.

Huseyin Oruc, one of the plaintiffs, said in his testimony they were exposed to direct attacks of Israeli soldiers on the flotilla and heard expressions insulting Turkey from radiotelephones.

An indictment prepared by an Istanbul prosecutor seeks 9 aggravated life imprisonment sentences for each of the four Israeli top commanders.

"Israeli soldiers think Turkey will give up on the trial but we will never give up on the trial. The reason why we went there was to breach Israel's blockade. We will not have proper relations until the blockade has been removed. Nobody has the right to give in. We were attacked and we will never retreat," Head of The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) Bulent Yildirim said.

A group of people from IHH and other non-governmental organizations gathered in front of Istanbul Court and opened Palestinian flags shouting anti-Israel slogans.

Mavi Marmara, a ship in Gaza-bound aid flotilla, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) in 2010 was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials with the intention of breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the Gaza Strip.

On May 31, 2010, Israeli soldiers boarded the ships from speedboats and helicopters to attack, and killed nine Turks aboard, which worsened the relations between Turkey and Israel.

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