Families of the Turkish citizens killed three years ago in the raid of the Mavi Marmara say that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's apology means nothing to them.
ISTANBUL- Relations between Turkey and Israel spent three years at a historic low after Israeli naval commandos killed nine protesters from the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla," including eight Turkish citizens.
Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for the May 2010 killing of the protesters on the Mavi Marmara ship. The two then agreed to hammer out a deal to normalize relations, which was hailed as a pivotal breakthrough for two key geopolitical players.
Still, not everyone is looking favorably at these diplomatic efforts. Relatives of the Turkish victims killed on the Mavi Marmara formally protested this weekend in Istanbul. At a Sunday press conference, families said they were disturbed by statements made by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent ArÄ±nç praising the diplomatic breakthrough.
“We never made a demand for apology and compensation. We will not give up our criminal case,” Nimet Akyüz, the widow of Cengiz Akyüz killed onboard Mavi Marmara, said.
The press statement was read in front of the Mavi Marmara, which is being repaired at the CamialtÄ± Shipyard in Golden Horn.
ÇiÄŸdem TopçuoÄŸlu, whose husband Çetin TopçuoÄŸlu was also killed on the ship, said they were officially informed of the process to normalize relations with Israel only on April 2 at a dinner hosted by Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoÄŸlu, which ArÄ±nç also attended.
TopçuoÄŸlu says that the motivation for launching the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has been ignored. “The committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent ArÄ±nç arranging this meetings made some disturbing declarations about the process, including declarations about the trials being abandoned; these are all indications we oppose and don't have our backing. We do not believe Deputy Prime Minister Bülent ArÄ±nç will make a positive contribution to this process.”
‘Disrespect to our martyrs’
“A massacre took place aboard the ship Mavi Marmara, which was broadcasted live. These crimes against humanity cannot be apologized for,” said TopçuoÄŸlu, who argued that negotiations held between governments will not stop their legal struggle. "The claim that we should give up our ongoing penal case against the Israeli commanders, and all other legal processes, is an insult to us."
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Footage taken from the Mavi Marmara security cams - Source: IDF
TopçuoÄŸlu said Israel kept track of Nazi war criminals one by one since the World War II and brought many of them to justice. She noted the high amount of the compensation the Nazis paid for their crimes, punished by Israel regardless of age: “We understand that the same Israel that continues to hunt down the last Nazi is also trying to cover up its own massacre and crime quickly, trying to escape this responsibility," she concluded. "We perceive the compensation negotiations with Israel as an insult to our martyrs.” The families say that the criminal proceedings against Israel are part of the continued struggle for the rights of Palestinians that had originally prompted the flotilla.
Despite the harsh comments made in the press statement, when TopçuoÄŸlu was asked whether if they have a problem with the Turkish government she said there is none; they are just voicing their discontent. The families said they hope to be invited by ErdoÄŸan for his upcoming visit to Gaza.