Obama Brokers Netanyahu Apology to Turkey For Flotilla Deaths

Friday, 22 Mar 2013 01:52 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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President Barack Obama helped broker an apology Friday from Israel to Turkey for a 2010 commando raid on a Turkish ship that killed eight.

The apology was issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a personal telephone call to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, The New York Times and CNN report.

"The prime minister made it clear that the tragic results … were unintentional and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life," the Israeli government said in a statement.

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"In light of the Israeli investigation into the incident, which pointed out several operational errors, Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to loss of life and agreed to complete the agreement on compensation."

The Times said that following the call, Israel and Turkey confirmed that diplomatic relations have been restored and ambassadors reinstated between the two countries.

The raid, which received international condemnation, occurred on May 31, 2010 when Israel intercepted six ships from the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla’’ in international waters.

The flotilla — carrying relief supplies and building materials to help break the blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt — fought back and eight Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish heritage were killed.

During his phone call, Netanyahu also offered compensation for the raid.

According to the Times, Obama got on the phone with Netanyahu and Erdogan at one point.

Later, Obama, who has been touring Israel and meeting with state leaders, said in a statement:
“The United States deeply values our relationships 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.”


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