Turkish organization: Arrest Barak for War Crimes When He Arrives Here
AL – MANAR TV 14/01/2010 – Despite the intensifying crisis between Israel and Turkey, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is insisting to follow through with his scheduled plans to visit Turkey next week. However, on Thursday it became clear that an arrest warrant may await him there.
One of the major human rights organizations in Turkey, Mazlumder, requested from the Turkish state prosecution to order that Barak be arrested upon landing in the country for what they call “his responsibility for war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.”
A statement published Wednesday night by the Istanbul branch of Mazlumder said that the request is rooted in the right of universal jurisdiction and Article CMK98 of Turkish law.
“Israel perpetrated genocide and crimes against humanity. Israeli army forces bombed the UN building, hospitals, and schools. As was proven by lab tests performed by Turkish universities, they also used phosphorous bombs, which are forbidden. It is known that Israel used an assortment of ammunitions that caused physiological and psychological diseases among the Gazan population.”
The organization’s statement also asserted that a request was made in the past to Turkish prosecution to arrest senior Israeli officials, but then Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Shahin rejected it. The organization hopes that this time around, given the crisis in the relations between the two countries and the precedent provided by efforts in Britain to issue an arrest warrant against former minister Tzipi Livni, the Turkish prosecutor will decide to act differently.
“We know that Barak will arrive in Turkey on the 17th of the month,” said the organization. “(We) need to put him trial and prevent every other Israeli who is responsible for war crimes from entering Turkey freely. We remind the Turkish prosecution of its role. We remind them that Britain has already decided to arrest Tzipi Livni when she was slated to arrive in the country. We remind them that Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert must also be arrested according to Article CMK-98 of the Turkish law, which grants us the right to try them.”
Mazlumder is an independent organization that was founded in 1991 by a group of 54 lawyers, businessmen, and media correspondents. It has many branches throughout Turkey. The group defines itself as apolitical and promoting human rights regardless of race, religion, or gender and “without double standards for humanity.”
Chairman of the Istanbul branch Attorney Jihad Gokdimar is signed on the current request for an arrest warrant.
This is the not the first time an attempt has been made in Turkey to issue an arrest warrant against senior Israeli officials. In February 2009, a pro-Palestinian organization asked that then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, his Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and President Shimon Peres be put on trial. The general prosecutor in Ankara rejected their request.