Turkish court dismisses case brought by victims of Israeli raid

Israel agreed to pay out $20 million to the families of those killed on the vessel, a crucial element in the restoration of ties.

December 9, 2016 19:25
1 minute read.
Mavi Marmara

The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara leaves Istanbul May 22, 2010, aiming to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A Turkish court on Friday halted a case brought by victims of an Israeli raid on an aid flotilla that killed 10 people in 2010, a lawyer for the victims' families said, following a deal in June to restore ties between Israel and Turkey.

Relations between Israel and Turkey crumbled after IDF soldiers raided the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip and 10 Turkish activists on board were killed attacking Israel Navy commandos.

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Israel, which already had offered its apologies for the raid, agreed under the deal to pay $20 million to the bereaved and wounded in return for Turkey dropping outstanding legal claims.

The deal, signed on June 28, was a rare rapprochement in the divided Middle East, also driven by mutual fears over growing security risks.

Turkey's parliament later ratified the agreement in August, officially normalizing ties between the nations.

Following the motion, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement heralding the decision.

“Israel welcomes the Turkish Parliament’s decision to approve the deal recently concluded by the two governments and looks forward to the next steps of its implementation, including the return of our respective ambassadors.”

Under the accord, the naval blockade of Gaza, which Ankara had wanted lifted, remains in force.

There are three land crossings into the Gaza Strip, two of which are controlled by Israel; the commercial crossing at Kerem Shalom and the pedestrian one at Erez. Egypt also controls a pedestrian crossing at Rafah.

Goods and pedestrians enter Gaza through these crossings, but some security restrictions apply.

Israel says the Gaza naval blockade is needed to curb arms smuggling by Hamas.

The international community has repeatedly called for a lifting of the naval blockade and the restrictions at the Gaza crossings.

The reconciliation with Israel comes as Turkey plans to take a more active role in addressing the conflict in Syria.

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