Israel fearful of war crimes suits, Turkey sticks to int'l law

Israel admitted its fear over an apology to Turkey for killings nine activists aboard a Gaza aid ship in international waters in a move that will bring international war crimes lawsuits.

Israel fearful of war crimes suits, Turkey sticks to int'l law


Israel on Friday admitted its fear over an apology to Turkey for killings nine activists aboard a Gaza aid ship in international waters in a move that will bring international war crimes lawsuits.

However, Turkey has renewed demands from Israel.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Friday that Turkey had a clear stance on its relations with Israel.

Replying to a question, Gul said, "the international law tells how a wrong incident can be restored. Israel, a member of the UN, should comply with the international law."

Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said that Turkey was still expecting Israel to pay compensation and apologize to Turkey for its armed attack on the aid ship.

Spokesperson Selcuk Unal of the ministry said that there had been no change in Turkey's expectations from Israel.

"Israel has behaved unjustly against Turkey regarding aid ship, 'Mavi Marmara', and we are still expecting compensation and apology from Israel," Unal told reporters in Ankara.

"We do not voice any compensation amount, and we will continue to inform you about developments," Unal said.

Unal did not elaborate the date of the upcoming meeting with Israeli executives.

More war crimes lawsuits?

Unal's remarks came after Feridun Sinirlioglu, the undersecretary of Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had a meeting with an Israeli delegation comprised of three executives in Geneva, Switzerland.

Reports said, "Israel has proposed paying compensation to relatives of Turkish activists it killed in exchange for Ankara to give up lawsuits against the Israeli navy.

According to Turkish and Israeli media, Israel wants the expression of sorrow and regret to be "humanitarian" and addressed toward the victims, rather than an official apology to the Turkish government to avoid legal cases. Erdogan, for his part, is demanding that Israel apologize "to the Turkish republic."

Israel also sees the compensation a "humanitarian" gesture, rather than an Israeli admission of legal responsibility for the killings.

"We must not apologise as there are both moral-diplomatic ramifications and legal ramifications that can really expose IDF (Israel Defence Force) soldiers to lawsuits, damages claims against Israel and the like," Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told Israel Radio.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday signalled no change in his government's position, saying "the citing of (compensation) figures of the matter of regret did not come onto the agenda".

On the fire-fighting planes Turkey sent to Israel to help extinguish a forest fire, Unal said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Turkey and called Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Turkey's charge d'affairs received a plate, which all created a positive atmosphere," Unal said.

Unal said the hand of a party that wanted a friendly solution had never been turned down, however all those developments would not cause any change in Turkey's expectations.

Two Turkish fire-fighting planes, CL-215, joined efforts to put out a forest fire near Haifa, Israel earlier this week.

"The contacts (with Turkey) are still ongoing intensively," Ayalon said.


Agencies

 

Related news reports:

Turkish FM dismisses reports on Israel proposal as speculative

Israel proposes Turkey compensation only to escape lawsuits

Turkish victims, hurt by Israel talks, call for trial of soldiers

Last Mod: 10 Aralık 2010, 16:44
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