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    Turkey drops probe into Israel's Gaza operation

    AFP
    30 Nisan 2009 - 12:47Son Güncelleme : 30 Nisan 2009 - 12:51

    ANKARA - A Turkish prosecutor has dropped a probe into whether Israel committed genocide and crimes against humanity in its offensive in Gaza, the Anatolia news agency reported Thursday.

    The prosecutor said there were no grounds for prosecution after the Justice Ministry refused it permission to bring charges, the report said.

    Turkish law allows for the trial of people accused of genocide or crimes against humanity even if the crimes were committed abroad, but says prosecutors need the ministry’s permission before they can go ahead.

     

    The investigation was launched in February upon a complaint by the Islamist-leaning human rights association Mazlum-Der, accusing Israel of carrying out "direct attacks on civilians with the aim of annihilating them."

     

    Mazlum-Der had asked that several Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres and several ministers, be tried.

     

    Israel’s 22-day offensive on Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza in December and January left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead and injured 5,300 others.

     

    Thirteen Israelis were killed during the operation, which was launched with the declared aim of stopping rocket attacks on southern Israel by Palestinian militants.

     

    The Gaza conflict has strained relations between Israel and Turkey, which has been the Jewish state’s main regional ally since a military cooperation accord in 1996.

     

    In January, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a heated debate on the Gaza war at the World Economic Forum in Davos with Peres after accusing the Jewish state of "barbarian" acts against the Palestinians.

     

     

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