Lawsuits against Israeli soldiers who were involved in the 2010 Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla incident will continue in Turkey despite a recent reconciliation between Turkey and Israel after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 22.
The Mavi Marmara was a Turkish ship that sailed to Israel in an attempt to break the Jewish state’s blockade of the Gaza strip. After militants attacked Israeli soldiers as they boarded, the soldiers fatally shot nine Turkish citizens on the ship. Until the March reconciliation, relations had soured between the two countries.
As part of the reconciliation agreement the Israeli government wanted the Turkish lawsuits against its soldiers—including former Israel Defense Forces chief Gabi Ashkenazi—dropped. But Musa Cogas, who was on board the Marmara and had been wounded by Israeli fire, told Reuters, “We will continue with the criminal lawsuits we have opened against the Israeli soldiers and commanders, and we won’t accept dropping this suit if compensation is paid [by Israel to Turkey].”
“Our efforts are for the full lifting of the blockade. Nobody wants compensation,” added Ahmet Varol, a journalist who was on the flotilla. An Israeli official told Reuters that Israel did not agree to end the Gaza blockade as part of the agreement with Turkey. Erdogan, however, has said full normalization of Israel-Turkey relations will not be restored until the Gaza blockade is lifted.