Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over a 2010 incident that badly damaged relations between the two countries, Reuters reports.
In 2010 when Israeli marines killed nine Turkish activists after boarding a boat challenging Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The flotilla of cargo ships and passenger boats — carrying 10,000 tons of aid for Gaza — were attempting to challenge Israel’s military blockade of Gaza. organisers accused Israeli commandos of opening fire as soon as they reached the deck of the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish passenger vessel that was carrying about 600 activists.
Turkey, Israel’s most important friend in the Muslim world, subsequently recalled its ambassador and canceled planned military exercises.
“On behalf of Israelis, he apologized for any deaths those operational mistakes might have caused,” an official aboard Air Force One told Reuters, noting that Barack Obama organised the call. “Turkish “Prime Minister Erdogan accepted the apology on behalf of Turkey.”
Jon Donnison reports that Netanyahu apologized to the Turkish people for any “operational mistakes” that led to “tragic results ” and “agreed to complete the agreement for compensation.” Ambassdors will also be reinstated.
Michael D. Weiss notes that the apology was likely influenced by the need for Israeli-Turkish intelligence cooperation on the conflict in Syria.
Reuters correspondent Noah Browning called the apology “the take-away” from Obama’s visit to the Holy Land, adding that it is “a pretty big accomplishment for him” if it Israel-Turkey relations are normalized going forward.
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