We expect President Obama to Take credit for the Bibi Apology
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, a senior U.S. official said.
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.
From the Voice of America (VOA)
A statement from Mr. Erdogan’s office said he accepted the apology. It also said an agreement had been reached on the issue of compensation in the naval raid.
Ties between Israel and Turkey have been strained since May 2010, when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara.
Mr. Obama said Friday at a press conference in Amman that he has been encouraging Israeli and Turkish officials to repair their damaged relations. During talks earlier with Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Obama said the time seemed right to push for a breakthrough.
The ship was carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in defiance of an Israeli blockade aimed at preventing weapons from reaching militants. A confrontation on the vessel led to the killing of nine Turkish activists and the wounding of several Israeli soldiers.
Subject: Pool 14 — Bibi apology for Gaza flotilla incident (as provided by the White House)
Two senior admin officials came back to address the issue of the phone call between Netanyahu and Erdogan.
Transcript is forthcoming, here are highlights: Netanyahu apologized for the Mavi Mara flotilla incident and acknowledged “operational mistakes,” said one official. Erdogan accepted the apology, according to this official. The other sao called this a “first step” toward normalization of relations between the two countries.They said this had been the subject of talks between Obama and Netanyahu in Jerusalem this week.The call took place in the trailer at the airport just before Obama took off.The leaders talked for about 30 minutes. At some point, Obama got on the phone.
President Obama Statement on Turkey and Israel
I welcome the call today between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Prime Minister Erdogan. 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.
Note: Shortly after our original post, the Obama Administration said the following in a today’s press briefing:
Q So what did the President do to facilitate this whole thing? What was his role? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: “Well, I think, in one way, the timing of the call speaks for itself”. So we don’t think we were the least bit presumptuous in claiming that Obama would take credit for the phone call and apology.
Twitter Responds to Gaza Flotilla Apology
Bibi apologizes for Gaza flotilla incident
— Politisite.com (@Politisite) March 22, 2013
Öcalan proclaims cease-fire, Bibi apologizes, Cyprus is financial basket case… must be allright to be #Turkey's PM right now.
— Erik Meyersson (@emeyersson) March 22, 2013
Israel and Turkey are about to resume their formal relations as Bibi apologizes to Erdogan on a phone call during the Obama visit
— Arik Segal (@ArikSegal) March 22, 2013
Wow, per pool report, Bibi apologizes for aspects of flotilla incident to Erdogan
— Katie Glueck (@katie_glueck) March 22, 2013