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Israel – Turkey:PM Netanyahu apologizes to Turkey for Gaza flotilla attack / Middle East News


Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to Turkish PM Erdogan for deaths in the Gaza flotilla attack, Israel agrees to compensation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the restoration of normal diplomatic relations with Turkey and expressed regret during a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

US President Barack Obama helped arrange the call shortly before leaving Israel.

In a statement released by the White House, President Barack Obama said: “The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security.

“I am hopeful that today’s exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper cooperation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities,” he added.

The flotilla incident severely harmed ties between the once-close allies. Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel, and diplomatic ties and military cooperation were greatly scaled back.

Israel – Turkey:First contact between two countries since 2010


In their first phone conversation since 2010, the Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan for deaths in the Gaza flotilla raid, Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. Israel also agreed to compensation for bereaved families.

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan accepted the apology and agreed with his Israeli counterpart on the need to normalize the relationship that deteriorated after the UN report in 2011 made public the storming of a Turkish aid flotilla.

As back then no apology followed from Israel, Ankara expelled its ambassador and froze military cooperation with the country.

During Friday’s call, Netanyahu and Erdogan “agreed to restore normalization between Israel and Turkey, including the dispatch of ambassadors and the cancellation of legal steps against IDF soldiers,” Ofir Gendelman, the Israeli PM’s spokesperson said in statement.

Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara was on its way from Turkey to the Gaza Strip when it was intercepted by the Israeli Navy in May 2010. The vessel was part of a flotilla that was attempting to break an Israeli naval blockade of Palestinian territory  Gaza. As a result of the incident, nine Turkish activists aboard the vessel were killed.

Netanyahu said today that those tragic results “were unintentional and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life,” his press-service sated. An Israeli investigation into the incident pointed out several operational errors and Netanyahu apologized to the Turkish people for any mistakes that could have led to loss of life. He also agreed “to complete the agreement on compensation,” said Gendelman.

Besides that, the Israeli Prime Minister noted that his country has already lifted several restrictions on the movement of civilians and goods to all of the Palestinian territories, including Gaza. This will continue “as long as the quiet is maintained,” his spokesperson cited. Netanyahu and Erdogan agreed to keep working to improve the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories.

Erdogan, for his part, underlined to his Israeli counterpart that he “valued centuries-long strong friendship and cooperation” between the two nations, his office said, according to Reuters.

The country’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said later that all Ankara’s fundamental demands have been met by Israel’s apology.

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