BEIRUT

Middle East

'Israel to compensate Turkey' over flotilla raid: Ankara

File picture shows an undated handout image taken from the Free Gaza Movement website on May 28, 2010 of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara taking part in the "Freedom Flotilla" heading towards the Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO / FREE GAZA MOVEMENT

ISTANBUL: A long-awaited compensation deal for Turkish victims of a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla four years ago will soon be signed, Ankara said on Tuesday.

The May 2010 Israeli assault on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara while it was in international waters on its way to Gaza triggered a severe diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

"We have received a final agreement document from Israel," Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc was quoted as saying by Hurriyet newspaper's website.

He said that after next Sunday's local elections, "our first job will be making sure the compensation is bound by a legal document".

Talks on compensation over the nine Turks killed in the raid began in March 2013 after Israel extended a formal apology to Turkey in a breakthrough brokered by US President Barack Obama.

The amount of compensation to be paid was believed to be among the sticking points.

In February, Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that Israel had offered $20 million in compensation to the families of those killed and wounded in the flotilla raid.

The local elections Sunday are seen as a test of the popularity of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been battling a damaging corruption scandal engulfing his inner circle since mid-December.

 

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