Turkey delays compensation talks with Israel

Turkey postponed a meeting with Israel on compensation which the Jewish state will pay to victims of a raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine dead three years ago, local media reported Tuesday.

The meeting, originally scheduled for April 11-12, has been delayed to April 21 or 22, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters.

Arinc, who was to lead the Turkish delegation at the talks, said the change was made because he will accompany Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a visit to Kyrgyzstan this week.

The delay came after the families of the victims announced that they will not drop lawsuits against Israeli soldiers despite the planned compensation by the Jewish state. The families also demanded that Israel provide a time-table for ending the blockade of Gaza.

Eight Turks and a Turkish American aboard the flotilla were killed and dozens wounded in May 2010 during a violent confrontation with Israeli navy commandos. Turkey then severed diplomatic and security ties with Israel.

"We will continue with the criminal lawsuits we have opened against the Israeli commanders, and we won't accept dropping this suit even if compensation is paid," said Musa Cogas, one of the activists wounded by Israeli gunfire on board the Turkish Mavi Marmara aid boat.

"It's not possible to heal my wounds with just an apology. Unless these soldiers are punished and the blockade is lifted, we won't accept compensation," Cogas said, referring to a belated apology by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month after a broker's role played by the United States.