Israel to Turkey: We’re sorry
JERUSALEM — Israel agreed to restore full diplomatic relations with Turkey in a surprising turnaround Friday after apologizing for a botched naval raid that resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists aboard an international flotilla bound for Gaza in 2010.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the breakthrough after a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The 20-minute phone call was brokered by visiting President Barack Obama shortly before he left Israel.
The announcement was an unexpected reversal by Netanyahu, who has repeatedly rejected calls to apologize. But the two countries' joint interests, including fears that the Syrian civil war could spill over their respective borders, made the time ripe to mend relations.
"The two men agreed to restore normalization between Israel and Turkey, including the dispatch of ambassadors and the cancellation of legal steps against Israeli soldiers," a statement from Netanyahu's office said.
Netanyahu "expressed regret over the deterioration in bilateral relations and noted his commitment to working out the disagreements in order to advance peace and regional stability," it said.