World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey would sign an inter-governmental deal with Israel for the compensation to be paid to the families of those killed in the 2010 Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla, said deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Akit daily, Arinc said Parliament would have the last word over the compensation deal with Israel.
“When the compensation process is over, the public will surely be informed. The completion of the process is related to an agreement signed with Israel and then the approval of this agreement in Parliament,” said Arinc.
In this case, the intergovernmental agreement means that any court trial stemming from existing laws cannot contradict the articles of the agreement.
Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution makes it clear beyond reasonable doubt that if there is a contradiction between laws and international treaties in the case of legal disputes, the superiority of the latter is unquestionable.
Therefore, the court case involving the families of the victims of the Israeli raid will have to be dropped according to the new legal environment that would be created with the approval of an agreement between Turkey and Israel.
But the families of nine victims who were killed in an Israeli raid aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship in 2010 have harshly criticized the government ahead of the talks with the Israeli delegation to negotiate compensation for the families.
According to the information obtained by Today's Zaman, after an inter-governmental deal between Turkey and Israel is signed, Ankara will not seek the consent of the families -- who are against any compensation talks or deals with Israel without the lifting of the blockade and embargo on Gaza -- to drop the lawsuits filed against former Israeli military commanders by the families.
Victims’ families consent will not be sought
The relatives of the victims vowed not to drop lawsuits stating Turkey holds Israel responsible for the deaths -- despite a Turkish pledge to withdraw legal action against the Israeli soldiers. Turkish prosecutors have demanded life in prison for the officers, although it is unlikely that any sentence could be carried out.
The families have also insisted that the blockade on the Gaza Strip be lifted, underlining that without ending the blockade and embargo, Israel's apology and compensation for the victim's families and those injured would have no meaning.
In order to mend ties, Ankara had three demands of Tel Aviv: an official apology from Israel for the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid, reparations for the families of the passengers killed on the ship and the lifting of the blockade on Gaza.
However, Israel does not accept ending its Gaza blockade as part of the reconciliation with Turkey, saying that it would clamp down even harder on the Palestinian territory if security is threatened.
Israel offered an official apology for the incident. A group of Israeli officials visited Turkey on Monday to work out the amount of the compensation for the victims' families.
Negotiating the Compensation amount
According to Israeli news reports, Turkey demands that Israel pay $1 million to each family of the nine victims, but Israel is willing to pay only $100,000. Furthermore, Israel reportedly suggested paying the same amount the Turkish army pays to the families of its fallen soldiers -- TL 125,000, or around $70,000.
According to the information obtained by Today's Zaman, the two countries will sign a possible agreement after the talks of the delegations. The Turkish government will assert the rights of its citizens according to the norms of international law.
During the talks with the Israeli group, it was agreed to pay compensation not only to the families of the nine dead activists but also to the 70 passengers injured in the bloody ship raid. Israel will send the flotilla compensation to a specially designated fund controlled by Ankara, which will then distribute it to the families and the injured.
Turkish official sources told Today's Zaman that when the two countries reach a consensus, the lawsuits are expected to be dropped.
“The attitudes of the families will not cause a problem for a deal,” a Turkish official told.
Arinc said on Monday that Turkey and Israel have agreed on "the methods and principles, the basics and parameters" for working out the compensation, but that the amount to be paid had not yet been determined.
To determine the amount of compensation for each victim, the parties agreed at the talks that the age, education, financial status of the family and specific injuries sustained would be taken into consideration.Last Mod: 26 Nisan 2013, 10:39