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Turkey Refuses Israel’s Demand To Drop Charges Against IDF Soldiers

TEL AVIV – A Turkish court has refused to dismiss charges against Israeli soldiers despite it being a key demand in the rapprochement deal between Jerusalem and Ankara.

The hearing for IDF officers in a court in Istanbul has been postponed until later this year, Channel 2 reported. Charges against the officers relate to the 2010 raid on a Turkish flotilla that attempted to breach the naval blockade of Gaza.

The deal specified the “full release from any liability of Israel, its agents and citizens with respect to any and all claims, civil or criminal, that have been or will be filed against them in Turkey, direct or indirect, by the Republic of Turkey or Turkish real and legal persons, in relation to the flotilla incident.”

IDF commandos stormed the vessel Mavi Marmara and were attacked with batons and metal rods by so-called humanitarian activists on board. The ensuing melee left 10 Turkish activists dead and injured several Israeli soldiers.

As part of the reconciliation deal, Israel paid $20 million to the families of the activists and issued a formal apology over the incident.

A United Nations investigation into the Mavi Marmara incident found that Israel’s naval blockade was justified.

Last week, Israel sent a senior government minister to Turkey for the first time since the two countries severed ties.

Ankara and Jerusalem are expected to announce new ambassadors later this month.

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