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Erdogan Backs Compensation Despite Interpol Request

Israel appeals Interpol to ignore Turkish court arrest warrants, Erdogan says compensation talks continue despite ruling for 'martyrs.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/27/2014, 8:04 PM

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Reuters

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday the Turkish court order asking Interpol to arrest four former Israel military leaders would not harm compensation negotiations.

The subject of the arrest and negotiations is the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla, which tried to illegally break the IDF blockade on the terror group Hamas in Gaza. Ten Turkish Islamists were killed as they violently attacked IDF soldiers who boarded their ship.

“The court case opened by families of our martyrs or of our wounded ones is not an initiative of ours. We cannot influence that,” said Erdogan of the recent court order, reports the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

Erdogan stated that his government could not make decisions for the family members of the "martyrs," adding "we do not have such right either. This is a separate issue and ours is a separate issue at the state level."

The arrest warrants have been issued for former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, IAF intelligence chief Avishai Levi and naval forces commander Eliezer Marom.

Israel for its part has asked Interpol not to honor the Turkish in absentia ruling on the four Israelis, disputing the ruling as "tainted by political motives."

Yadlin responded to the ruling by saying "I won’t be visiting Turkey, just like I won’t be visiting Syria, Iran or North Korea."

Of flotillas and compensation

Erdogan's statements that the compensation talks will continue follow the death of one of the Turkish Islamists last Friday, who succumbed to his injuries four years after the Mavi Marmara incident.

In 2010 the Mavi Marmara defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port, forcing the IDF to board the vessel - only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board. The soldiers were pressed to open fire to save their lives.

After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid - in fact, no aid supplies at all - in contrary to the claimed "humanitarian" mission of the flotilla. The incident led to a fallout between Israel and Turkey.

Under pressure from US President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized last March to Erdogan, and talks of compensation began. Israel has reportedly offered as much as $20 million in "compensation."

The Turkish organization IHH, which was behind the flotilla, announced last Thursday it would reject any Israeli compensation.