A Turkish prosecutor has launched an investigation into whether Israel committed genocide and crimes against humanity in its offensive in Gaza, his office said Friday.
The investigation follows a complaint lodged by the Islamist-leaning human rights association Mazlum-Der against several Israeli officials, including President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and army chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
"Every complaint merits an investigation," the spokesman said when asked whether a probe had been launched into Mazlum-Der's complaint.
Under Turkish law, prosecutors are obliged to look into all complaints to determine whether there are grounds to initiate a full-scale investigation that could lead to formal charges.
If the prosecutor decides the complaint does not merit a case, it will be dismissed.
In its petition, Mazlum-Der accused Israel of carrying out "direct attacks on civilians with the aim of annihilating them" and employing internationally-banned weapons in the process.
"The suspects, who wanted to wipe out the Palestinian people through systematic attacks, have committed genocide and crimes against humanity," it said, demanding that the suspects be detained if they enter Turkey.
Turkish law allows for the trial of people accused of genocide or crimes against humanity even if the crimes were committed abroad.
Israel's 22-day massive offensive last month on Islamist Hamas-controlled Gaza 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 fighters.
Turkey, one of the few Muslim allies of Israel, criticized the Jewish State over the war in Gaza amid almost daily anti-Israel demonstrations across the country.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed out of a debate on the Gaza war at the World Economic Forum in Davos two weeks ago after a clash with Israeli President Shimon Peres, saying Israel committed "barbarian" acts in the Hamas-ruled territory.