Turk Injured in Gaza Flotilla Dies After Four-year Coma

Death toll of Israeli takeover of Mavi Marmara rises to 10, as Turkey and Israel reportedly draw close to reconciliation.


A Turkish man who was injured during the Israeli takeover of the Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 died Friday after four years in a coma.

The passing-away of Ugur Suleyman Soylemez, 51, raises the death toll of the Mavi Marmara takeover to 10, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported.

In May 2010, Israeli navy commandos killed nine Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara, one of several ships taking part in a Turkish-backed aid flotilla aiming to violate Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Dozens of activists, as well as Israeli troops, were injured during the clashes.

Soylemez's death came as Israel and Turkey were reportedly drawing close to clinching a deal ensuring the normalization of ties between the countries, severely frayed after the 2010 incident.

In March, Turkish Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Charlie Rose on PBS that the two countries reached an understanding on the compensation amount Israel will pay the families of the victims of the 2010 Mavi Marmara that made its way to Gaza. Haaretz was the first to report that the amount the sides agreed on was 20-23 million dollars.

In May, Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said relations between the two countries may soon normalize.