Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to Turkey for the killings of nine people on board a Gaza-bound aid flotilla nearly three years ago. On May 30, 2010, Israeli commandos raided the ship, Mavi Marmara, in international waters, killing nine Turkish activists, including one U.S. citizen. President Obama brokered Netanyahu’s apology for the attack, which the Israeli leader made Friday at the very end of Obama’s first presidential visit to Israel. In a phone call with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Netanyahu apologized for “any errors that could have led to the loss of life.” Erdogan said the apology was one step toward normalizing relations between Israel and Turkey.
Prime Minister Erdogan: “Israel murdered nine of our citizens in international waters. They tried to find different excuses. They even tried to use American and European negotiators to repair the relations. We told them that there would be no normalization of relations unless they apologized, paid compensation and lifted the embargo on Palestine. All Turkish opposition parties mocked the government for believing that this would happen. But it has happened. The phone call was a step forward.”
Israel did not agree to Turkey’s call to end the blockade of Gaza.