Turkish PM Erdogan
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Report: Israelis, Turks to meet next week

Turkey's deputy prime minister confirms Israeli delegation to visit country to work out amount of compensation to be paid to victims of 2010 raid on Gaza-bound flotilla

Turkey's deputy prime minister says Turkish and Israeli officials will meet next week to work out the amount of compensation to be paid to the victims of a raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed eight Turks and a Turkish-American in 2010.


Israel apologized for the botched raid last week and agreed to compensate the injured and relatives of the dead.


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Turkey accepted the apology, but said it wanted to ensure the victims were compensated and Israel remained committed to the easing of restrictions of goods entering Gaza before restoring full diplomatic relations.


Bulent Arınç said Friday that an Israeli delegation would travel to Turkey next week. He said the amount of compensation to be requested would be worked out in consultation with experts and the families' lawyers.


He earlier told journalists that the sides agreed to establish a joint high-level committee, the Today's Zaman newspaper reported, noting that the date and venue of the talks as well as the identities of those making up the Turkish and Israeli delegations were not yet clear.


According to the Turkish newspaper, Arınç also commented on contradictory media reports on the amount to be paid by Israel, describing them as “laughable.”


“Everyone is talking about a different amount. They are not accurate. I request that everyone not utter a word concerning the amount of the compensation to avoid disappointment in the future,” he stated, adding that it was a matter of law that should be discussed by jurists.


According to reports earlier this week, Turkey demands that Israel pay $1 million to the families of each of the nine victims and Israel is willing to pay only $100,000.


The discussions between Israel and Turkey over the compensation follow last week's phone conversation between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which the former apologized for "any mistakes that could have led to killing" during the flotilla raid three years ago.


During the raid, members of the IHH organization – which is recognized as a terror group by several countries – attacked Israeli soldier with firearms and cold arms. The soldiers fired back, killing nine passengers.


Following the flotilla incident, in which hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists attempted to violate the Israeli blockade on Gaza, Turkey downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel and expelled the Israeli ambassador.


An international committee which offered limited criticism over Israel's actions did not convince the Turks to restore the relations, and they insisted that Israel apologize, compensate the Turkish victims' families and lift the siege off Gaza.


US President Barack Obama mediated between Netanyahu and Erdogan during his visit to Israel last week due to the growing need for increased cooperation between the two countries on the backdrop of the civil war in Syria.



פרסום ראשון: 03.29.13, 16:56
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