Compensation talks with Israel delayed as Mavi Marmara raid victims vow to fight on
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç. AA photoThe main reason for postponing an Israeli delegation’s visit scheduled for this week was the fact that Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who has the role of coordinator in compensation talks, would not be able to effectively contribute to the talks to be held in the Turkish capital while in Bishkek due to the time zone difference between Ankara and the Kyrgyz capital, Turkish diplomatic sources said.
“I will be accompanying the prime minister for his trip to Kyrgyzstan, so we contacted [Israel] and postponed their visit,” Arınç told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.
Both the Turkish and Israeli sides said there was no reason to speculate about the postponement of the talks.
The Israeli delegation, composed of two senior aides to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to arrive in Turkey on April 22, sources said.
The frozen relationship between Turkey and Israel, after the latter’s deadly 2010 attack that killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists on an aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip, has recently seen a thaw after the Israeli prime minister apologized for the raid. Compensation to the victims of the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara ship and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apology to his Turkish counterpart Erdoğan were Turkey’s core conditions for normalizing ties between the once strong allies.
Erdogan accepted the apology “in the name of the Turkish people” but said the country’s future relationship with Israel would depend on the Jewish state.
However, raid victims yesterday insisted on legal action against Israeli soldiers who conducted the attack.
“Israel can only be persuasive if it takes legal action against their soldiers and punishes them,” Musa Coaş, one of the activists who was on board the Mavi Marmara, told reporters at a press conference organized by the Turkish nongovernmental organization Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH) on the Mavi Marmara ship in Istanbul.
Coaş said they would continue their cases and it was unacceptable to withdraw the cases in return for compensation.