'Families of Marmara victims won't drop charges'

Relatives oppose stance that agreement with Israel will waive suits, Turkish newspaper Zaman reports.

Mavi Marmara 311 (photo credit: Stringer Turkey / Reuters)
Mavi Marmara 311
(photo credit: Stringer Turkey / Reuters)
Families of the nine Turkish activists that died during the IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 will press the Turkish government to continue the legal battle against the IDF soldiers responsible for the raid, despite any agreement made between Turkey and Israel, Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported Sunday.
Speaking to Sunday's Zaman, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said that an agreement with Israel would have an effect on the civil lawsuits that the families of the raid victims have initiated.
“There are lawsuits filed by those who would receive the compensation. We are aware of their demands. There are talks over acquiring 10 or 20 times the amount of compensation for the trials demanding compensation. If we come up with a bilateral agreement [with Israel], they [the families] will be required to waive their lawsuits, otherwise they will not receive any compensation,” Arınç stated.
However, according to Zaman, the families of those killed on the flotilla strongly oppose the Turkish government's stance on the matter. “They are giving the impression that this file will be closed after talks with Israel. This is not something that the families can accept,” Zaman quoted Ismail Yılmaz, head of the İstanbul-based Mavi Marmara Association, as saying.
"The lawsuits filed against Israeli soldiers are human rights cases and no international agreement would supersede them. This is what we think, and this is what the ECthR would think as well,” said Cihat Gökdemir, a lawyer in the Mavi Marmara trial, according to the Turkish newspaper. Last week, Israeli and Turkish officials reached a draft agreement to mend the three-year diplomatic crisis between the two countries, after a productive day-long meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
“The two sides expect to come to an agreement in the near future,” said a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Turkish delegation was led by Arinc.
Tovah Lazaroff and Herb Keinon contributed to this report.