Victims, families undecided about Israeli compensation for Mavi Marmara

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Victims and the families of 10 activists who were killed in a 2010 Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara aid vessel have not yet decided what to do with compensation that will be paid by Israel, with some of them finding the amount inadequate, the pro-government Karar daily reported on Monday.

Turkey and Israel normalized relations last month after the Turkish Parliament approved a deal for Israel to pay compensation to victims of the 2010 assault on the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying humanitarian aid to the besieged people of Gaza.

Parliament in August approved a bill that instructs Israel to pay $20 million to the families as part of a normalization agreement between the two countries struck in July after a six-year freeze in relations.

The compensation will be paid to the families of the 10 slain activists as well as 54 who were injured and dozens of others who were affected by the attack.

A lawyer representing some of the Mavi Marmara victims, Ramazan Arıtürk, told Karar that there is no consensus among the victims and victims’ families about what to do with the compensation to be paid by Israel.

“While some victims’ families want the money to be used for charity work in Gaza, such as the establishment of a hospital there, some families are rejecting any compensation,” the lawyer said.

Noting that the distribution of the compensation among the victims and their families will be made by Turkey’s Justice Ministry, Arıtürk said he hopes the ministry will establish a commission and invite families there for a meeting.

“Following this meeting, victims and victims’ families can reach a joint decision about what to do with the compensation,” added the lawyer.

Arıtürk also explained that considering the extent of the tragedy, $20 million in compensation is too little and less than the amount they proposed earlier.

Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara while it was in international waters, killing nine activists on board and injuring 30. One of the injured activists subsequently died, bringing the death toll to 10.

Turkey demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade. Three years ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed regret over the incident to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then Turkey’s prime minister and now the country’s president.

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