High-ranking Turkish officials told the newspaper Hurriyet Daily News that they did not wish to be dragged into “dirty bargaining” with Israel over the amount of compensation to be paid over the deaths of nine Turkish citizens aboard the 2010 Gaza flotilla in the first round of talks over the issue, which will take place next week.
On April 22, a high-ranking Israeli delegation will arrive in Ankara for talks on normalizing relations between the two countries and setting the compensation arrangements over the deaths amid a botched Israel Navy raid aboard the Mavi Marmara vessel.
The Israeli delegation will include national security adviser Ya'akov Amidror and the prime minister’s envoy to the talks in Turkey, Joseph Ciechanover. The Turkish side will be represented by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc and Turkey's Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, Feridun Sinirlioğlu.
High-ranking Turkish officials were quoted in the Hurriyet Daily News as saying that they would ask Israel to pay a significant sum as compensation to the families of the men who were killed.
“Israel should know perfectly well that this is not a process of bargaining,” the official said. “Compensation talks should not be turned into horse trading or dirty bargaining. We want to solve this issue in next week’s talks.”
The Turkish officials noted that the talks next week would not be easy, but said that the reconciliation process would not be compromised. “We want to close this issue in one session,” an official said. “Discussing human life for money is not a pleasant thing. This should be concluded in a most appropriate way.”
While the Turkish officials did not say how much compensation they would demand of Israel, they said that in recent weeks they had looked into past precedents. Their studies shows that Israel’s boarding of the Mavi Marmara was different because it was deliberate.
Therefore, Turkey does not accept the Israeli position that each family should be paid about $70,000 in compensation, which is the amount that the Turkish government paid to the families of civilians shot by the Turkish army in 2011.
According to the high-ranking Turkish officials, the Mavi Marmara incident was much worse because the ship was boarded by direct order of the Israeli government.
The high-ranking Turkish officials also said that they felt they would be able to convince the families of the Turkish people killed on board the vessel to withdraw the lawsuits they had brought against high-ranking Israeli officials.