Israeli minister: We should not have apologised to Turkey

Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship [file photo]

Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship [file photo]

A former Israeli Minster said that it was a mistake to have apologised and paid compensation to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara incident, when nine aid workers were killed by Israeli forces in 2010.

Reacting to yesterday’s comments by President Recep Tayyip Erdogen during a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, Likud minister Gideon Saar said:

We made a mistake when we paid compensation and apologised for the Marmara incident.

Saar, who announced in recent weeks that he intends to return to political life, also said in other interviews that close relations with Turkey could not be expected as long as Erdogan, “an ally of Hamas and Al-Nusra Front,” remained the leader of Turkey.

Read: Palestinian PM meets with Turkish president in Istanbul

During Erdogan’s meeting with Hamdallah in Istanbul yesterday, the Turkish president launched a scathing attack on Israel. He called to prevent the Judaisation of Jerusalem and appealed to Muslims to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque.

It is impossible to find a solution and peace in the region without finding a fair solution for the Palestinian cause first

Erdogan said, adding that “no country should be allowed to act above the law,” referring to Israel’s constant violations of international law through continued settlement expansion and the occupation of Palestinian territory.

Israel pays Turkey $20m compensation for Mavi Marmara attack

May 28, 2016 - Free Jerusalem March in Istanbul, Turkey

President of IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation Bulent Yildirim attend ‘Free Jerusalem March’ organized by IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation on May 28, 2016 in Istanbul on the 6th anniversary of the 31 May 2010 attack on the Mavi Marmara ship carrying international aid to Gaza in international waters.

Israel paid $20 million to Turkey on Friday as compensation for the 2010 attack on the Mavi Marmara, which was part of a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla, Anadolu has reported. The sum was revealed by Turkish diplomatic sources.

The deal will see the money paid to the families of the victims of the attack by Israeli commandos as part of a normalisation agreement between Turkey and Israel after a six-year hiatus in diplomatic links.

Ten Turkish humanitarian activists were killed by the Israeli troops who attacked the flotilla in international waters as it headed for Gaza to deliver much-needed aid. In the aftermath of the attack, Turkey demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed, and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade.

In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced regret over the incident to Turkey’s then-Prime Minister, now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In addition to the compensation, Israel has agreed to Turkey’s humanitarian presence in the occupied Gaza Strip. The siege of the territory remains as strong as ever, however.

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