Talks between Israel and Turkey on compensation for the victims of a deadly 2010 Israeli raid on Freedom Flotilla — a Gaza-bound aid flotilla — have stalled over disagreement on the legal definition of the damages, said Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister in comments published on Thursday.
Bulent Arinc told a group of journalists that Israel wanted to make a voluntary payment out of compassion, while Turkey insists that Israel accept liability for a “wrongful act.” His words were reported by Zaman and Hurriyet Daily News newspapers.
Israel and Turkey have been working on repairing ties that were frayed after the May 31, 2010 raid which killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American when Israeli commandos stormed a ship bound for the Gaza Strip. Israel maintains a blockade on the territory.
Under a U.S.-brokered rapprochement in March, Israel apologised to Turkey for the deaths and agreed to pay compensation. Washington regards both countries as strategic partners in West Asia. Mr. Arinc denied media reports that the two countries could not agree on the amount of compensation, saying: “The amount of money is not the problem.”
“Israel should accept that it’s paying this money as a result of its wrongful act,” Hurriyet Daily News quoted Mr. Arinc as saying. “Nothing less than this will be accepted.” Turkey is also demanding that Israel end all commercial restrictions on Palestinians before restoring ties.