Turkish court drops all charges against Israeli military officers in Mavi Marmara case


(JTA) — A Turkish court has dropped all charges against Israeli suspects on trial in absentia in the Mavi Marmara case.

The case was dismissed Friday after the prosecutor asked the court to drop the charges against the Israeli military officers implicated in the incident, referencing the reconciliation agreement arrived at in June between Turkey and Israel.

Relations between Israel and Turkey broke down in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010, when Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish citizens in clashes on a boat attempting to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Turkey recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv in September 2011 and expelled the Israeli envoy.

Under the reconciliation agreement, Turkey was to drop legal claims against the Israeli military and individual officers and soldiers who were part of the Mavi Marmara raid.

The families of the victims asked the court to ignore the agreement, and to ask the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, to annul the agreement. The court rejected the demands, Turkey’s Daily Sabath reported.

Earlier this month, Israel’s new ambassador to Turkey Eitan Naeh took up his post. The new Turkish ambassador to Israel, Kemal Okem, arrived in Israel Saturday night, six years after the last ambassador was recalled.

Last month, Israel paid $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously apologized for the deaths, which had been another Turkish condition for the resumption of diplomatic ties.

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