Netanyahu expressed Israel's apology to the Turkish people
Israel apologized to Turkey for the raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in which eight Turks and an American of Turkish origin were killed in May 2010.
Sources from the Turkish Prime Ministry confirmed that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to Turkey.
The long awaited apology came during a phone conversation between Turkish and Israeli prime ministers on Friday.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama on Friday said that they attached great importance to the restoration of positive relations between Turkey and Israel.
In a written statement released on Friday, President Obama said he welcomed the phone conversation between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"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," Obama stated.
In a press release, Erdogan's press office said the two prime ministers had agreed over payment of redress to the relatives of the victims of the raid.
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to the Turkish nation for all errors that caused loss of life and injuries, and the Turkish prime minister accepted this apology on behalf of the Turkish nation," the press release said.
The press release also cited Netanyahu as telling the Turkish premier that Israel has lifted restrictions on the entrance of goods for civilians' use to Palestinian territories including Gaza.
Netanyahu's press office said in a statement that the two prime ministers had agreed to "restore normalization [...] including the dispatch of ambassadors and the cancellation of legal steps against IDF soldiers."
The statement said Netanyahu had expressed regret over the deterioration in bilateral relations and he had noted his commitment to working out the disagreements in order to advance peace and regional stability.
The statement said Netanyahu had said during the phone talk with Erdogan that "the tragic results" regarding the Mavi Marmara were unintentional and that Israel expressed regret over injuries and loss of life.
"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 statement said.
The statement also cited Netanyahu as telling Erdogan that Israel has already lifted several restrictions on the movement of civilians and goods to all of the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, and that this would continue as long as the quiet was maintained.
Turkey's ties with Israel fell to a historic low after the 2010 Israeli raid.
Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador in Ankara, saying that relations would not go back to normal unless Israeli government made an official apology, paid redress to the relatives of the victims and removed the blockade on Gaza.
Statement by Erdogan's press office
Prime Minister Erdogan spoke today with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel.
He told him of the importance he attaches to the shared history and centuries old ties of strong friendship and cooperation between the Jewish and Turkish peoples. He said the recent deterioration of the relationship between Turkey and Israel, which he sees as having vital strategic importance for the peace and stability of the region is regrettable. He reiterated Turkey's support for all international and regional efforts to find a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict on the basis of the two-state vision.
In light of Israel's investigation into the Mavi Marmara incident which pointed to a number of operational mistakes, Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed Israel's apology to the Turkish people for any mistakes that might have led to the loss of life or injury. On behalf of the Turkish people, Prime Minister Erdogan accepted this apology.
They have also agreed to conclude an agreement on compensation/nonliability.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also noted that Israel had substantially lifted the restrictions on the entry of civilian goods into the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, and that this would continue as long as calm prevailed.
The two leaders agreed to work together to improve the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories.
Statement by President Obama
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.
Friday, March 22, 2013