The father of a Turkish-American man killed last year in an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla will file a compensation case against the Israeli government Tuesday in the United States, his lawyer has said.
“We will open a compensation case against Israel and we’ll declare this at a press conference tomorrow [Tuesday] in front of the U.S. Capitol,” Ramazan Arıtürk, a lawyer for the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or İHH, which organized the ill-fated flotilla, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Monday.
The declaration will come after the lawyers meet with officials from the U.S. Department of Justice as well as U.S. senators and congressmen on the issue, the lawyer said.
The Israeli raid May 31, 2010, killed nine people aboard the Mavi Marmara, including Furkan Doğan, an American of Turkish descent, and eight Turkish citizens.
“Furkan is an American citizen. He was martyred in international waters. The United States has not taken any action against Israel over the past year. The legal procedures launched by U.S. authorities have not reached any result,” Hüseyin Oruç, an İHH board member and the spokesman for a new flotilla set to sail to Gaza next month, told the Daily News.
He declined to comment on the amount of compensation that is being sought, saying this would be set by Doğan’s father, Ahmet, who is currently in the United States along with a group of lawyers.
Eight other compensation cases for the other victims will be opened in Turkey “very soon,” Arıtürk said.
Last year, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama for remaining silent on the death of an American citizen. “We are protecting the rights of our eight martyrs. The United States is not taking care of Furkan, its own citizen. Is it because of his Turkish origin?” Erdoğan said.
Despite calls from the U.S. for Ankara to block the new flotilla from setting off for Gaza in late June, İHH officials ruled out any Turkish government interference to prevent the trip.
“There has been no interference from the Turkish government so far. We are insistently saying that this is a civil-society initiative and İHH is only one of 22 separate [groups involved], including those from a wide range of countries, from Indonesia to Canada,” Oruç said.
In remarks published in daily Bugün, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the second flotilla was a civil-society initiative. “There are also citizens from other countries [set to be onboard],” he added, but repeated that the government might advise the İHH not to go.
“All the teams are very much determined. These are civilian vessels and carry nothing threatening Israel’s security,” Oruç said. “Israel has not yet given an account of what it did last year despite significant reports released by the U.N. We believe Israel will not repeat the same mistake because any action aimed at stopping the flotilla will receive an enormous amount of reaction from the world.”
This year 25 vessels will set out carrying 1,500 activists, up from six vessels and 700 activists last year. The İHH will be represented by 100 activists. One ship is expected to set out from New York on Saturday and all the vessels of the flotilla will meet in the Mediterranean before steering for Gaza.
A ceremony will be held May 30 at Istanbul’s central Taksim Square to commemorate victims of last year’s raid. According to Oruç, the event will be attended by the international participants in this year’s flotilla.