Turkish lawyer: Israel offered to pay Marmara victims $6 million


(JTA) — Israel offered to pay $6 million to victims of the 2010 raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara, a Turkish lawyer said.

Ramazan Ariturk, one of the lawyers representing 465 victims and victims’ relatives, told Reuters on Thursday that the Israeli government had made a proposal to him through an intermediary foreign ambassador in Ankara just over a month ago. He said the money would have been paid to a Jewish foundation in Turkey for distribution, and been followed by an Israeli government statement of “regret” for the raid.

Ariturk said he told the unnamed ambassador that the offer was not appropriate. The Turkish Foreign Ministry agreed with his decision, saying Israel should have contacted it directly, he told Reuters.

A senior Israeli official who declined to be named said that Israel, which indicated last year that it was prepared to indemnify victims without accepting blame, had not renewed its offer, according to Reuters.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry could not be reached by the news agency for immediate comment. Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also declined to comment.

Israeli commandos boarded the Marmara, which claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid, after warning the ship not to sail into waters near the Gaza Strip in circumvention of Israel’s naval blockade of the coastal strip. Turkey broke off diplomatic relations with Israel following the incident, in which nine Turkish citizens were killed.

Turkey, meanwhile, is preparing to charge four senior Israeli military officials responsible for the raid on charges of ordering their soldiers to intentionally kill, wound and abduct, the Turkish daily Sabah reported Wednesday. The military leaders are also charged with encouraging torture and the looting of personal belongings.

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