Obama Brokers Apology From Israel to Turkey

Netanyahu admits 'mistakes' in fatal flotilla attack
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2013 2:20 PM CDT
Obama Gets Israel to Apologize to Turkey
President Obama listens to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their visit to a hospital in Jerusalem, Israel, Friday, March 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama today pulled a diplomatic victory out of his 3-day trip to Israel by brokering a detente between Israel and Turkey, Reuters reports. As Obama ended the visit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan and apologized for "mistakes" made during the flotilla incident that killed nine Turkish citizens in 2010. Israeli marines raided the flotilla as it challenged Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Now Turkey and Israel have "agreed to restore normalization" of relations and allow ambassadors to return to their posts, said Netanyahu's office. Erdogan said he "accepted this apology" and "valued centuries-long friendship" between the two countries. For his part, Obama said the rapprochement will "advance regional peace and security." Telling detail: Netanyahu made the half-hour call from a runway trailer at Tel Aviv airport just before Obama left—a sign that the deal may have been a toughy, the BBC reports. (More Gaza aid flotilla attack stories.)

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