Updated: 07/25/2013 8:06 AM KSTP.com
(AP) ANKARA, Turkey - Talks between Israel and Turkey on compensation for the victims of a deadly 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla have stalled over disagreement on the legal definition of the damages, Turkey’s deputy prime minister said in comments published Thursday.
Bulent Arinc told a group of journalists that Israel wanted to make a voluntary payment out of compassion, while Turkey insists that Israel accept liability for a "wrongful act." His words were reported by Zaman and Hurriyet Daily News newspapers.
Israel and Turkeys have been working on repairing ties that were frayed after the May 31, 2020 raid _ which killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American _ when Israeli commandos stormed a ship that was bound for the Gaza Strip. Israel maintains a blockade on the territory.
Under a U.S.-brokered rapprochement in March, Israel apologized to Turkey for the deaths and agreed to pay compensation. Washington regards both countries as strategic partners in the troubled Middle East.
The countries have since held a series of meetings to work out compensation for the surviving victims as well as the relatives of the dead.
Arinc denied media reports that the two countries could not agree on the amount of compensation, saying: "The amount of money is not the problem."
"Israel should accept that it’s paying this money as a result of its wrongful act," Hurriyet Daily News quoted Arinc as saying. "Nothing less than this will be accepted."
Turkey is also demanding that Israel end all commercial restrictions on Palestinians before restoring ties.
"We are waiting for them to realize our ... condition of cooperating with Turkey in making life conditions easier for Palestinians," Arinc said, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)