Mavi Marmara victim files lawsuit against Turkey, demands compensation

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The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara taking part in the "Freedom Flotilla" heads towards the Gaza Strip on May 28, 2010. Ten people died on May 31, 2010 when Israeli forces stormed the boat carrying pro-Palestinian activists bound for Gaza. AFP PHOTO

Zeki Kaya, a Turkish citizen who was among the victims of an Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla heading towards Gaza in 2010, has filed a lawsuit against Turkey, claiming damages in the amount of TL 260,000 ($72,800), CNN Türk reported on Sunday.

Kaya, from the western Turkish province of Denizli, was battered by Israeli naval commandos while part of the humanitarian aid flotilla going to Gaza. He was reportedly detained by Israeli soldiers for three days.

Israeli soldiers also seized his laptop, cell phone, $1,500, 2,000 euros and TL 2,000, which he never got back.

Based on an İstanbul Institute of Forensic Medicine report, Kaya was diagnosed with major depression.

In 2016, Israel deposited $20 million in the account of the Turkish Ministry of Justice as compensation for victims of the Mavi Marmara flotilla, part of a reconciliation agreement between Turkey and Israel signed to normalize ties on June 28, 2016 after six years of strained relations.

According to the deal, Turkey became the only party that can file complaints against Israel, and as a result Kaya was no longer able to demand compensation from the Israeli government.

Kaya sued Turkey for TL 10,000 in material damages and TL 250,000 in non-pecuniary damages, marking a first in terms of a victim suing his own government in the case.

Turkey and Israel normalized relations in August 2016 after the Turkish Parliament approved the deal for Israel to pay compensation to victims of the 2010 assault on the Mavi Marmara.

Turkey had put forward three conditions to normalize relations. The first clause, an apology, was realized in 2013 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to then-Prime Minister and current-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The second clause was having Israel pay compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims, which was achieved with the deal, in which Israel agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to families of the deceased. The third clause was a partial lifting of the blockade on Gaza, in which Turkey got permission to send aid material via Israel’s Ashdod Port.

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