Families outraged as Turkish court dismisses Mavi Marmara case against Israel

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The families of victims of the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla were outraged after İstanbul’s 7th High Criminal Court on Friday dismissed a case against Israeli officers blamed for a raid on the flotilla that killed 10 people in 2010.

The prosecutor of the case recently approached the court saying that the case must be dismissed due to a deal signed between Turkey and Israel for the normalization of relations that had become strained following the raid in 2010.

The two countries made a deal that was ratified by the Turkish Parliament in August 2016. The families of the victims were offered compensation in the amount of $20 million, which was harshly criticized by the opposition in Turkey given how much President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has capitalized on the issue.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters on May 31, 2010, and nine Turkish citizens and an American citizen of Turkish descent were killed in the raid. The Mavi Marmara incident sparked a diplomatic crisis with Israel as then-Prime Minister Erdoğan used the issue extensively as a political tool in domestic rallies.

Prosecutor Hüseyin Aslan said at the hearing in an İstanbul court on Friday that due to the deal signed between Turkey and Israel, there was no longer any legal basis for the plaintiffs to claim damages against Israel, saying that Turkey had relinquished its legal rights. The prosecutor called on the court to dismiss the case in which the victims of the Mavi Marmara flotilla are suing Israeli military officers for the attack against civilians who were attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestine.

As the Mavi Marmara prosecutor renewed his call for dropping the case against Israel in Friday’s hearing, the families of the victims through their lawyers requested a change of judges.

Four Israeli officers, including former chief of staff Gaby Aschkenazi, former navy chief Eliezer Marom, former air force chief Amos Yadlin and the former head of air force intelligence Avishai Levi, are being tried in absentia in proceedings that began in İstanbul in 2012.

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