Netanyahu Phones Erdogan to Apologize for Deaths of Turkish Citizens on Gaza Flotilla
The two leaders spoke for first time since 2009, agreeing to normalize relations, and return their ambassadors to Tel Aviv and Ankara; Turkey agreed to cancel all legal proceedings initiated against IDF officers and soldiers over Mavi Marmara incident.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday and apologized over the deaths of nine Turkish citizens during the 2010 Israel Navy raid on the Gaza flotilla.
Erdogan accepted the apology during his conversation with Netanyahu. Erdogan’s office later released a statement saying Turkey valued its “friendship” with Israel.
Ties between Israel and Turkey deteriorated due to the May 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara vessel, which was on its way from Turkey to the Gaza Strip. The ship was part of a flotilla aimed at breaking through a blockade Israel had placed on the coastal territory.
During Friday’s phone call, Netanyahu told Erdogan that an Israeli investigation into the incident revealed several operational errors made by IDF forces. Netanyahu “expressed his apologies to the Turkish people for any error that could have led to loss of life and agreed to complete an agreement to provide compensation to the families of the victims,” according to a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Netanyahu added that Israel had removed a number of restrictions upon the movement of citizens and goods in all the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, and would continue to do so as long as the security situation remained peaceful. The two leaders agreed to continue working to improve the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories.