Sources in the US State Department said that the Turkish attorney general has ordered that all legal proceedings against Israeli elements involved in the IDF raid on the Marmara ship in May 2010 to be halted, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.
According to the sources, Turkish prosecutors were instructed to withdraw all proceedings against the elements that gave the order to take over the ship or who actively raided the vessel, an event which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens.
- 4 ex-soldiers linked to Turkish ship looting
- Marmara to return to Gaza in May
- 'Turkey obtains names of flotilla raid soldiers'
The State Department said that this decision is linked to US efforts to defuse tensions between Israel and Turkey. This includes attempts by Israeli envoy to Turkey David Meidan to find a formula which will allow the sides to end hostility.
In the past, Ankara has demanded that Israel apologize for the raid and pay damages to the families of the Turkish victims and will in return drop legal proceedings.
Earlier this year Turkish sources suggested that the general prosecution demanded that Israel provide it with the names of the Israeli soldiers who raided the Marmara. Later the names of photos of some of the Navy commandos who took part in the operation were published by Turkish media outlets.
Turkey then threatened to issue an international arrest warrants against the Israeli elements involved in the raid including senior officers.
It was intended to approach the International Court of Justice and demand that the Israelis be prosecuted for war crimes. At the same time the Turkish prosecution also planned to file civil suits by Turkish citizens who were injured during the raid against the Navu commandos for physical injuries.
Ankara used this to demand an Israeli apology and compensation money for the victims. Israel eventually rejected a recommendation by the defense establishment to comply and apologize as demanded.
Turkey's decision to suspend the legal proceedings shows the ever tightening ties between Ankara and Washington. US sources said that the administration has also been working to limit the extent of verbal attacks by Turkish officials against Israel.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop