Israel has allegedly offered to pay $6 million to victims of the 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara ship bound for Gaza, a Turkish lawyer told Reuters on Thursday.
However, a senior Israeli official who declined to be named said that Israel, having indicated last year that it was prepared to indemnify victims without accepting blame, had not renewed its offer.
Turkey and Israel fell out badly in 2010 when Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists.
Ramazan Ariturk, one of several lawyers representing 465 victims and victims' relatives, told Reuters that the Israeli government had made a proposal to him through an intermediary foreign ambassador in Ankara just over one month ago.
He said the money would have been paid to a Jewish foundation in Turkey for distribution, and been followed by a statement of "regret" for the raid by the Israeli government.
"I told the ambassador I did not think the offer was appropriate or moral and also discussed the issue with the victims and their friends and they also stated that they could not accept this," Ariturk said.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry agreed with his decision, saying Israel should have contacted it directly, he said.
Ariturk declined to disclose the nationality of the ambassador or reveal the name of the Jewish foundation to which the payment would have been made.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry could not be reached for immediate comment, while Mark Regev, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, declined to comment.
Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and froze all military cooperation with its former ally after a U.N. report into the incident last September largely exonerated the Jewish state.
Turkey has demanded a formal apology from Israel alongside compensation for victims and the families of the dead, but Netanyahu has only voiced "regret."
On Wednesday an Istanbul prosecutor submitted an indictment seeking life sentences for four former Israeli military commanders in connection with the raid, including the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff at the time, Gabi Ashkenazi.
The court in Istanbul received the proposed indictment, and will have 15 days to decide whether to accept it, the Anadolu Agency said.
The Turkish prosecutor proposed charging Ashkenazi, along with the heads of the Israeli navy, air force and military intelligence. They face nine consecutive life terms in prison for "inciting to kill monstrously, and by torturing," the Turkish news agency said.
The Turkish daily Sabah reported on Wednesday that indictments would be issued against former Navy Commander Vice Admiral (res.) Eliezer Marom, former Military Intelligence head Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and former Air Force Intelligence head Brig. Gen. Avishai Levy.
The indictments will reportedly include a demand for 10 life sentences for each officer for their involvement in the deaths of the nine Turkish citizens and the critical injury of a tenth citizen, who was left comatose.
Prosecutors also suggested similar charges be pressed against several unidentified soldiers who raided the ship in a separate file, the agency added.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Wednesday that Israel would only comment on the indictment after it had been filed and approved.
The U.N. report on the raid last September was meant to encourage a rapprochement but ultimately deepened the rift when it concluded Israel had used unreasonable force but that its blockade of Gaza was legal.
Israel said its marines had been attacked by activists wielding metal bars, clubs and knives when they boarded the Mavi Marmara, and had opened fire in self-defense.
It is unlikely Israeli military personnel will be brought before Turkey's judicial system, since Israel does not regard them as criminals, although Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekici argued Wednesday that the raid should be considered a crime against Turkish property in international waters.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told state television that the legal process should be seen as an example of "the government's determination to defend the rights of Turkish citizens."
The move comes just a week ahead of the second anniversary of the May 31 raid. The ship had been part of a flotilla sailing toward Gaza to protest Israel's blockade.
Turkey has tried without success to get Israel to apologize for the attack, and to compensate those killed as a condition for normalizing relations. Israel has expressed regret solely for the loss of lives.
The report by Sabah says the prosecutor's findings were passed on to Istanbul's district attorney-general, Turan Colakkadi, who will decide whether or not to submit an indictment to the court.
Turkish officials are aware that an indictment of the former Israeli officers will compound the diplomatic crisis between the two regional powers further.
Recent reports have claimed that the two countries are working quietly to resolve the standoff. Sabah reported this week that Israel returned four of five unmanned aerial vehicles to Turkey, which had been given to Israel for repair and maintenance. The UAVs had remained in Israel after completion of the work due to the diplomatic crisis that erupted in the meantime.