IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation
"Israel's donations to our martyrs are an insult and unacceptable"
In the recent days, the media reported that Turkish and Israeli authorities had met to discuss the attack our clients had suffered. It is unacceptable for our clients rights to be a subject to political bargaining between the two officials.

In the recent days, the media reported that Turkish and Israeli authorities had met to discuss the attack our clients had suffered. It is unacceptable for our clients rights to be a subject to political bargaining between the two officials.

First of all, we have personally opened several court cases across the globe to bring about truth and protect the rights of the martyrs families and the real victims attacked on the Mavi Marmara ship. These cases are making serious progress in both international and national jurisdictions. It is well known that Israel is showing great efforts (such as requests, persuasion, blackmail, intimidation, discouragement, and even going as far as having countries change their laws) to have these cases dropped. It should be noted that the only authority to have an initial say in these cases and investigations are our clients and their lawyers. Whoever gets involved in the judicial process and protection of our victims' rights, is taking on a heavy blame and responsibility.

Our clients have repeatedly and finally declared on 11.01.2016 that "... previously to Turkish authorities... the discomfort they felt with Israel's attitude when negation talks were being held over compensation" They stated that "Israel compared the court cases we opened against Israelis who martyred our relatives as "theatrical" and have not taken them seriously. Now a critical factor put forward to reach an agreement is to "pull back from the cases or have them dropped," Turkey, going ahead with negotiation talks without consulting the families of the martyrs and victims onboard the ship is not acceptable. We consider rumors that the ongoing legal proceeding against Israeli commanders will be dropped in exchange for compensation, a complete insult." Our clients stance towards Israel has remained the way they declared above, ever since the events occurred.

Also, as the lawyers of the victims we would like to remind and warn the Government of Turkey of a few matters.

To say this;

It is known that Israel has put forward the termination of the court cases we have been following as a precondition to normalize the bilateral relations between the two countries. Ending any of these cases by no means will be a topic of discussion. By law, such a situation is not possible.

Israel and the Israeli attackers involved is obliged to compensate for the harm they have caused our clients both morally and financially. When we look back at similar precedents from around the world, the penalty for such an attack is 1 billion dollars. It was said during negotiation talks that, "Israel will pay 20 million dollars." Israel by "donating" such a small sum is not only trying to slip away from responsibility but also insulting the martyrs by declaring that they will pay this price through "donating/giving charity."

According to media reports "It was agreed that Israel will transfer $20 million to a fund, and Turkey will distribute this money to the families of the martyrs." This situation not only violates the rights of our clients but also mocks our martyrs. It is also unacceptable by law. Israel is trying to protect these criminals and get rid of such crimes. No matter how large the sum is of such a "donation" by no means will it be accepted. Only through a court decision a "tort compensation" meaning "criminal responsibility of the perpetrators" will be accepted, even if it's one penny, in order for it to enter the records.

The "removal of the blockade" on Gaza is the main issue of the Mavi Marmara case. Gaza is not an area which has to be legally subjected to such a blockade, a region which Israel attacks ships in international waters and a place where they can murder people as they like. The Mavi Marmara case will not only allow the prosecution of Israeli criminals but essentially liberate Gaza and the Mediterranean. It is a big mistake that will come with legal consequences if an agreement comes into effect while ongoing cases are making serious progress and the Mediterranean has accepted the Israeli occupation. The Turkish Government should not take on such a responsibility. The Government of Turkey will not be able to explain this situation to its own citizens and foreign victims.

As the lawyers of the Mavi Marmara and other Gaza Freedom flotilla passengers we would like to warn authorities that in the case of any intervention which will negatively affect the legal hearings, we will take action and take on the responsibility to warn authorities and those interested in such developments from now of serious consequences which may emerge.

We hope the Government of Turkey will stand up against Israel's games, just the way they have always stood up against oppression and occupation policies of all political, legal and diplomatic entities including the United Nations. Justice based on law is the only hope for the oppressed. Those in favor of law and justice will take its rightful place in the hearts and will take its deserved place in history.

We will continue to march until a court decision is made to lift the unlawful blockade and Israeli criminals are punished.

Lawyers of the Mavi Marmara victims

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