Marmara families won't drop lawsuits against Israel

Despite receiving compensation from Israel, families of Turkish Islamists killed in 2010 flotilla vow to pursue criminal cases.

Elad Benari,

Mavi Marmara
Mavi Marmara
Reuters

Despite the reconciliation deal between Turkey and Israel, the families of the Turkish Islamists who were killed in the 2010 Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship have vowed to pursue criminal cases against the Jewish state.

Under the agreement between the two countries, Israel earlier this month paid $20 million in compensation to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2010, which led to the suspension of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The Mavi Marmara incident occurred when IDF soldiers boarded the ship after the Islamists on board, who claimed they were carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza, refused to reverse course and dock at the Ashdod Port.

When they boarded the ship, the soldiers were attacked by the Islamists with clubs and knives, forcing the troops to open fire and killing 10 of those on board.

Upon inspection it was discovered that there was no humanitarian aid whatsoever aboard the Marmara.

Turkey angrily cut off ties with Israel following the incident, but the sides announced a reconciliation agreement this past June after months of talks.

"We have no intention to drop the lawsuits," Cigdem Topcuoglu, whose husband was killed on the Marmara, told the AFP news agency on Friday. "We are certainly not accepting the compensation."

"They will come and kill your husband next to you and say 'take this money, keep your mouth shut and give up on the case'. Would you accept that?" Topcuoglu added.

Bulent Yildirim, head of the Turkish IHH organization that organized the flotilla, said the case would never end.

"Those who believe the case would drop will be disappointed," he declared, according to AFP.

Relatives of those killed on the Marmara insist they will continue their fight until the alleged perpetrators are brought to justice. Some say they were not informed of the deal with Israel and they have not received any money.

Ismail Songur, whose father was killed in the raid, said, "Nobody from the Turkish government asked our opinion before they struck a deal. Unfortunately, the Turkish government is becoming a part of the lawlessness carried out by Israel."

Human rights lawyer Rodney Dixon said the criminal case against the accused must go on "at all costs".

"We are strongly supporting the case here in Turkey and our very firm plea to the court has been that they must continue with the case," he told AFP, adding, "The so-called agreement between Israel and Turkey is not a treaty that is enforceable. It is unlawful under international law, under the convention on human rights and Turkish law."


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