No step back on legal cases against Israeli army in Mavi Marmara case: İHH head
KONYA – Anadolu Agency
Bülent Yıldırım says the cases could only be dropped if approval from the families of the victims was given.The head of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH), the non-governmental organization that organized the flotilla to Gaza in 2010, has insisted that the ongoing cases against Israeli commandos will not be dropped, as negotiators are close to striking a long-awaited deal on compensation for Turkish victims.
İHH head Bülent Yıldırım said the cases could only be dropped if approval from the families of the victims was given.
The May 2010 Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara while it was in international waters on its way to Gaza sent relations between Israel and Turkey to an all-time low. Talks on compensation for the nine Turks killed in the raid eventually began in March 2013 after Israel extended a formal apology to Turkey, in a breakthrough brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama, but talks then stalled.
However, over the weekend, Turkish officials said they were close to an agreement to settle the compensation issue, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Feb. 11 that the current embargo on Gaza must be lifted and a finalized protocol must be signed before relations between the two countries can return to normal.
Yıldırım said they would not make any concessions to Israel. “Israel will pay compensation. This is okay, but it will be much higher. They apologized. God willing, the blockade and embargo will also be lifted. Apart from those, the cases will continue, because Israel massacred us in the open sea. The murderers will pay for it. There is no concession on this issue,” he told Anadolu Agency.
Erdoğan held a meeting with Yıldırım on Feb. 8 in Istanbul, and the latter said the prime minister had “given assurance” on the issue. “The prime minister said cases will not be dropped unless approval was given from the families of the deceased. This is what is written in law and the shariah,” Yıldırım said.
The Mavi Marmara incident triggered an international outcry and a severe diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Israel, with Ankara expelling the Israeli ambassador and demanding both a formal apology and compensation. The amount of compensation to be paid, as well as the legality of the final agreement, are believed to be the sticking points, but the two sides appear to be narrowing their differences.