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Families of Mavi Marmara martyrs slam Israel-Turkey détente

26 June 2016 11:56

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Families of the victims of Israel’s 2010 attack on a Gaza-bound aid ship have condemned the potential normalization of Ankara-Tel Aviv relations, which have soured over the deadly incident.

Ismail Bilgen, whose father was among the victims of the raid, told the Middle East Eye that the restoration of ties with Israel “in the present form” is an “insult to the memory” of his father and other martyrs.

Bilgen further accused the Turkish government of giving up on its “principles and values” over the issue, saying, “Restoring ties in this manner is unacceptable. The Israelis are acting like the compensation is an act of benevolence on their part rather than a punishment for their crimes.”

On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos attacked the Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish citizens and injuring about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy. A tenth Turkish national later succumbed to his injuries.

“My father and his friends died trying to bring international attention to the inhumane blockade imposed on Gaza and to have it lifted. It now appears like their martyrdom will have been in vain,” Bilgen added.

Cigdem Topcuoglu, who lost her husband in the incident, also expressed opposition to the restoration of contact between Turkey and the Israeli regime, saying, “I am against it completely.”

Topcuoglu was herself on the vessel and held in the Israeli custody for a period.

In a separate statement, she further reiterated that in no way should an agreement be reached with “the Zionists … who have blood on their hands.”

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