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Turkey

Why The Easing Of Turkey-Israel Tensions Doesn't Please Everyone

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.

The Mavi Marmara ship, part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla
The Mavi Marmara ship, part of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

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 Arınç 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 Camialtı 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 Arınç also attended.

TopçuoÄŸlu says that the motivation for launching the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has been ignored. “The committee headed by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç 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 Arınç 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.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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