AK Party spox Çelik: Compensation deal with Israel nearing completion
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULFeb 17, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Feb 17, 2016 12:00 am
A spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has indicated that the agreement with Israel stipulating that the country will provide monetary compensation for the victims of the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, where nine Turkish nationals were killed by Israeli Special Forces, is close to being signed. Ömer Çelik addressed Habertürk TV on Monday, saying that the Israeli government has taken an agressive stance toward Turkey and its citizens, saying that "This is a situation which requires monetary compensation and a formal apology. While the request for an apology has been fulfilled, talks are still ongoing regarding the compensation issue. It has come to a point where signatures are needed."
Çelik said that the conditions presented by the Turkish government include the removal of the embargo on Gaza, emphasizing that "Turkey wants to meet Gaza's electricity needs by sending a power-generating ship [to the Gaza strip], as well as meeting the need for water. As our dear president has said, even allowing a single crate of tomatoes [into Gaza] is a problem. This is an open-air prison."
Indicating that the delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CoP) was also informed of the conditions set forth by Turkey regarding the normalization of ties with Israel, Çelik said that cooperation in many areas, especially in the energy sector, might start after "considering the sensitivities" of Turkey.
Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy, Joseph Ciechanover, came together in Geneva last week to resume normalization talks.
Last December, Israeli and Turkish officials reached a preliminary agreement to normalize relations which included the return of ambassadors to both countries and $20 million in monetary compensation to to be paid to the victims of Mavi Marmara.
The Mavi Marmara attack, which caused a political stalemate between the countries, occurred in 2010 when a flotilla known as the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was raided by Israeli forces in international waters. The flotilla had been organized by the international Free Gaza Movement and the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO).
Ten people were killed and 55 wounded in the attack on the flotilla's main ship, the Turkish Mavi Marmara. In March 2013, Netanyahu expressed his regret for the Mavi Marmara killings in a telephone coversation with his Turkish counterpart, while seated aside U.S. President Barack Obama, who brokered the deal. Despite opening the door to negotiations, negotiations later stalled. Israel agreed to increase reparations for the victims to $20 million and an agreement between the two states was drafted in Feb. 2014.