A Turkish state prosecutor has launched an investigation into claims of Israeli crimes against humanity and genocide during a recent deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip.
"We submitted the complaint against those who we could prove were in some way responsible for giving orders for the attack on Gaza," Meryem Sari, an attorney of the Mazlum-Der rights group, which submitted the complaint, told Reuters on Friday, February 6.
The group accuses 19 Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Shimon Peres, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak of committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Gaza.
"The complaint asks that Turkey be given the right to try the people mentioned," said Sari.
The investigation was launched under Article 13 of the Turkish Penal Code, which allows Turkish courts to try those charged with committing genocide and torture, even if the crime was perpetrated in another country.
Israeli troops killed more than 1,350 Palestinians, half of them women and children, and injured 5,450 others in 22 days of air, sea and land attacks in Gaza.
Foreign and Arab doctors documented abnormal injuries suffered by the civilian population of Gaza, accusing Israel of using banned weapons.
Several international rights groups, including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch, have accused Israel of using banned weapons against the densely-populated coastal enclave of 1.6 million.
A coalition of 350 European and Arab civil society organizations has filed a lawsuit with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel over war crimes in Gaza.
Last month, a Spanish judge launched a war crime investigation into Israeli officials over a deadly attacks in Gaza in 2002, which killed 14 civilians, including nine children.
Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country that belongs to NATO and has an official policy of secularism, has close military, commercial and diplomatic ties with Israel.
But ties have been strained since Israel launched its deadliest-ever onslaught in Gaza.
Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stormed off during a panel discussion in the World Economic Forum in Davos telling Israeli President Shimon Peres "you know very well how to kill".
(IslamOnline.net and Agencies)