Despite reconciliation, Turkey presses on with trial of IDF officers
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Despite reconciliation, Turkey presses on with trial of IDF officers

Dropping case over 2010 raid on blockade-busting ship to Gaza was key Israeli condition in deal to end years of frozen ties

Shani Cooper, diplomatic attaché to the Israeli mission in Ankara, shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a reception in the Turkish capital on August 30, 2016. (Courtesy of the Turkish presidency)
Shani Cooper, diplomatic attaché to the Israeli mission in Ankara, shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a reception in the Turkish capital on August 30, 2016. (Courtesy of the Turkish presidency)

The recent reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey hit a bump on Wednesday, when a Turkish court refused to dismiss a case against members of the Israeli military, a key condition of the agreement.

Dismissing the legal charges against IDF officers connected to a 2010 naval raid on a Turkish flotilla trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip was a key Israeli demand in the talks.

But, Channel 2 television reported, a court in Istanbul on Wednesday refused to dismiss the case and, instead postponed the hearing until December.

The raid, in which IDF commandos were attacked by activists on board the Mavi Marmara vessel, left 10 Turks dead and several Israeli soldiers wounded. Israel several weeks ago paid Turkey $20 million in compensation for the deadly raid, another central pillar of the deal.

Activists on the 'Mavi Marmara' preparing to attack IDF soldiers (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)
Activists on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ preparing to attack IDF soldiers (IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

The compensation was a key Turkish demand in the reconciliation deal, along with an apology by Israel and an easing of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Israel made the apology three years ago, and while the blockade remains in place — due to Israeli concerns that Hamas would import weapons and other materiel — Ankara has been able to resume delivery of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians through Israeli ports.

The two countries were expected to announce new ambassadors later this month. The exchange of diplomats, who were pulled out of both countries even though formal relations were never fully severed, is the last central element of the agreement signed in June to restore ties.

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