Turkey tries Israeli military over Gaza ship killings

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Ties between the two states began to unravel even before the Mavi Marmara raid after Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stormed off a stage he was sharing with Shimon Peres at a World Economic Forum in 2009, saying the Israeli President knew “how to kill,” a reference to the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza offensive.

But relations hit a new low when Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and froze military cooperation after a U.N. report into the Mavi Marmara incident released in September last year largely exonerated the Jewish state.

That report was meant to encourage a rapprochement between the two countries but ultimately deepened the rift when it concluded Israel had used unreasonable force but that the blockade on Gaza was legal.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in July Israel and Turkey needed to repair their relationship, but attempts to rekindle the strategic relationship have failed.

Turkey has demanded a formal apology, compensation for victims and the families of the dead and for the Gaza blockade to be lifted.

Israel has voiced “regret,” short of the full apology demanded, and has offered to pay into what it called a “humanitarian fund” through which casualties and relatives could be compensated.

IHH, the Turkish Islamic humanitarian agency which owns the Mavi Marmara, has said it expects the Turkish court to issue arrest warrants for the retired officers who would be obliged to be extradited to Turkey, a claim dismissed by Israel.

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