Mavi Marmara victims’ families vow to continue court cases


Some of the victims’ relatives expressed anger that the gov’t sponsored $20 million reconciliation deal with Israel was not discussed with them first.




Despite the recent $20 million reconciliation deal concluded between Israel and Turkey, the families of the Turkish citizens killed on the 2010 flotilla ship, the Mavi Marmara, which was bound for Gaza, will not be dropping their cases against Israeli officers, according to AFP.

Mavi Marmara incident - Photo by Stringer Turkey, ReutersNine Turkish citizens were killed when Israel raided the ship during its attempt to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Some of the relatives expressed anger that the deal was not discussed with them first.

“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,” Ismail Songur explained.

Songur’s father was on the flotilla and was killed in the incident.

Cigdem Topcuolgu’s husband also died in the incident. Topcuolgu told AFP that she has no plans to drop the lawsuits.

“We are certainly not accepting the compensation,” Topcuoglu stated.

“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?”

The deal calls for Israel to pay $20 million in compensation to a fund for the families of those killed in the Mavi Marmara incident six years ago, and allow Turkey to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza via the Ashdod port. In exchange, Turkish legislation will prevent any outstanding legal claims against IDF soldiers, and Turkey will be obligated to prevent Hamas from preparing attacks against Israel – including fund-raising – from Turkish soil.

However the head of IHH, the charity that had organized the Mavi Marmara, Belunt Yildirim, explained that the case would never actually see an end.

Yildirim stated, “Those who believe the case would drop will be disappointed.”

Rodney Dixon, a lawyer on the case, agreed that the case was not over, stating that it must continue, “at all costs.”

Dixon explained that his firm was supporting the case and expected the court to continue with it.

“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,” stated Dixon.

Another lawyer on the case, Gulden Sonmez, who was also aboard the Mavi Marmara, stated that the suit wasn’t looking for compensation.

“Even if the families of the victims accept the money, that would not affect the case,” Sonmez stated.

“The $20 million is an ex gratia payment. It’s a donation and cannot be accepted as compensation.”

In 2012, a Turkish court pressed formal charges against top IDF officers suspected of involvement in the killings aboard the Mavi Marmara.

It demanded nine consecutive life terms for four commanders, including ex-chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and three other former senior military officials in a move one Israeli source labeled “the targeted killing of Israeli-Turkish ties.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.


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