A Turkish man who was seriously injured in the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident died Friday after being in a coma for nearly four years, Turkish media reported.
Uğur Süleyman Söylemez, 51, was left comatose after Israeli commandos were attacked and opened fire when commandeering the Turkish-flagged vessel, which was bound for the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s security blockade. Söylemez’s passing raises the death toll from the fighting between pro-Palestinian activists aboard the ship and Israeli soldiers to 10, having stood at nine since the May 2010 episode.
Söylemez’s death came as Israeli and Turkish officials were on the cusp of inking a rapprochement deal to mend fences between the two countries after the fallout of the incident. Diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey were essentially frozen in 2010 after the raid. Israel said its soldiers were defending themselves after being attacked with deadly force upon boarding the ship.
According to recent reports, the deal, which would see Israel provide monetary compensation to the victims’ families, was awaiting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s approval.