Mavi Marmara lawyers denied Dutch visas

Legal team claims can't get visas to go to International Criminal Court to defend victims of deadly raid by Israeli forces in 2010.

Legal team claims can't get visas to go to International Criminal Court to defend victims of deadly raid by Israeli forces in 2010.

ANKARA - Lawyers representing the victims of a fatal 2010 Israeli raid on an aid flotilla claim they have been denied visas to the Netherlands on their way to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

"They are not issuing us visas although we have made it clear that we are lawyers and we represent the victims of the flotilla raid," Cihat Gokdemir told AA on Thursday. "The countries where international mechanisms are based cannot prevent visitors or people in official capacity from going to these places."

Two members of the legal team, Gokdemir and Ramazan Ariturk, were not granted extensions to their three-year visas, which expired in November, despite informing Dutch officials that the ICC Prosecutor's Office - based in The Hague – had invited them for a meeting on legal action against high-ranking Israeli officials.

In May 2010, Israeli commandos killed eight Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish origin in international waters when they attacked the Mavi Marmara, a ship in a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials to the Gaza Strip, which is under an Israeli blockade.

The event caused international outrage and soured Turkish-Israeli ties. Since then, Turkey has received an apology from the Israeli government and the two states are looking to normalize relations with a deal involving compensation for the victims’ families.

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