Injured Turks will sue Israeli soldiers despite Bibi’s apology

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Turkish nationals injured in Israel’s raid on the Mavi Marmara said they will sue Israeli soldiers and their commanders despite Israel’s apology.

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“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,” Musa Cogas, who was injured on the Mavi Marmara, told Reuters on Monday.

Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize ties after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month apologized for Israel’s 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara ship as it attempted to evade a maritime blockade of Gaza and agreed to compensate the families of nine Turks killed in the ensuing violence when Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship.

As part of Israel’s agreement on compensation, it wants lawsuits against Israeli soldiers dropped, according to Reuters.

A court case against former Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and other high-ranking Israeli military officials opened in November in Istanbul. The charges reportedly include manslaughter and attempted manslaughter, causing bodily harm, deprivation of freedom, plundering, damage to property and illegal confiscation of property.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Netanyahu also agreed to ease the restriction of goods flowing into Gaza. Erdogan added that the normalization of relations with Israel would take time and would not take place until Israel fulfills the agreement. Erdogan is scheduled to visit the Hamas-run Gaza Strip this month.

Turkey withdrew its high-level diplomats from Israel and froze deals with Israel’s military in the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident.

Israel’s government-appointed Turkel Commission found in its investigation that the government and the military behaved appropriately, and that the blockade of Gaza was legal. The United Nations’ Palmer Committee also found the blockade to be legal but said Israel used excessive force while boarding the vessel.

Turkey’s inquiry deemed the Gaza blockade and the Israeli raid to be illegal.

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