ISTANBUL (AFP)–Turkish human rights activists Friday asked a prosecutor to order the arrest of Israel’s defense minister for genocide over the Gaza war when he visits this weekend, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The complaint by Mazlum-Der, an Islamist-leaning rights group, accused Ehud Barak of genocide and crimes against humanity during the Jewish state’s three-week offensive in Gaza, which was launched in December 2008.
If the prosecutor sees fit, he will launch an investigation to see whether the complaint merits charges. If not, he will dismiss Mazlum-Der’s initiative.
A similar complaint by the associations against several Israeli officials, including Barak, in February last year was thrown out by prosecutors.
The complaint comes ahead of a one-day visit by Barak to Turkey on Sunday for talks with his counterpart Vecdi Gonul and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a bid to patch up ties poisoned over the Gaza offensive.
The Islamist-rooted government in Ankara has kept up an almost daily barrage of criticism against Israel over the humanitarian situation in Gaza, leading to a cooling of ties that flourished under a 1996 military deal.
In the latest spat between the two countries, Israel had to issue a formal apology Wednesday after Turkey threatened to withdraw its ambassador over Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon’s public dressing down of the envoy over a television series portraying Mossad agents as child snatchers.