Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Ar?nç has said Turkish and Israeli officials will meet next week to work out the amount of compensation to be paid to the victims of a raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed eight Turks and a Turkish-American in 2010.

Israel apologized for the botched raid last week and agreed to compensate the injured and relatives of the dead.

Turkey accepted the apology but said it wanted to ensure the victims were compensated and Israel remained committed to the easing of restrictions of goods entering Gaza before restoring full diplomatic relations.

In response to a question on the compensation issue, Ar?nç told reporters on Friday that an Israeli delegation will arrive in Turkey next week to work out the amount of the compensation. He earlier told journalists that the sides agreed to establish a joint high-level committee.

The date and venue of the talks as well as the identities of those making up the Turkish and Israeli delegations are not yet clear.

Ar?nç also commented on contradictory media reports on the amount to be paid by Israel, describing them as “laughable.”

“Everyone is talking about a different amount. They are not accurate. I request that everyone not utter a word concerning the amount of the compensation to avoid disappointment in the future,” he stated, adding that it is a matter of law that should be discussed by jurists.

Citing Turkish sources, Israeli daily Haaretz stated that the full amount to be paid by Israel is still unknown, but is “tens of millions of dollars.” However, Israeli news portal Ynetnews later stated that a joint committee will discuss the compensation issue soon since Turkey demands that Israel pay $1 million to the families of each of the nine victims and Israel is willing to pay only $100,000. The report further said Israel reportedly suggested paying the same amount paid by the Turkish army to the families of its fallen soldiers, TL 125,000, or around $70,000.

Israel’s apology ended the almost three-year rift between the former allies. In order to mend ties, Ankara had three demands of Tel Aviv: an official apology from Israel for the 2010 Mavi Marmara raid, reparations for the families of the passengers killed on the ship and the lifting of the blockade on Gaza. After the announcement, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, who welcomed the apology, said Israel had met Turkey’s demands to apologize for the killings of Turks and the payment of compensation to the families of the victims. Israel, however, says the deal with the Turks does not require an end to the Gaza blockade. A senior Israeli official said on Sunday that his country did not commit to ending its Gaza blockade as part of the reconciliation with Turkey and could clamp down even harder on the Palestinian enclave if security is threatened.

source: http://www.todayszaman.com