ISTANBUL, (Hurriyet Daily News): Israeli delegation’s visit scheduled for this week has been postponed, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said yesterday, hours after the Mavi Marmara victims declared that they would not withdraw their lawsuits against Israeli commanders for compensation.
“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, adding that the Israeli delegation is expected to come to Turkey on April 21.
The delegation was to visit Ankara on Aril 11-12 to discuss the compensation to be paid to the Mavi Marmara raid victims and their families.
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