World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday all of Turkey's fundamental demands had been met with an apology from Israel over the killing of nine Turkish citizens in a 2010 naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.
In a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart earlier on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu apologised for the killings and said Israel would pay compensation to the families of victims aboard the flotilla.
Speaking at a televised interview, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the move for the normalization of the relations was the result of "three years' hard negotiations. In the end our demands have been met. Otherwise, this issue would not close even if it continued for a century."
Davutoglu Turkey had intense talks over the last week with US Secretary of State John F. Kerry and other US officials. Davutoglu said Erdogan spoke to leaders of Al Fatah, Hamas, Egypt and Qatar prior to his phone conversation with Netanyahu, which he said lasted nearly 30 minutes, adding that US President Barack Obama was involved in the conversation as well. "The development is also important for the normalization of Israel's international relations," Davutoglu said, adding that Turkey had never assumed an anti-Semitic stance.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman, US President Barack Obama said normalization of relations between Turkey and Israel was in the interests of both countries.
"During my visit [in Israel] it appeared that the timing was good for that conversation to take place," Obama said of the phone call between Erdogan and Netanyahu.
"I discussed it with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and both of us agreed that the moment was right. And fortunately, they were able to begin the process of rebuilding normal relations between two very important countries in the region," Obama said. "Both [countries] are close friends and partners of ours. We've always said that the relationship between them is important for security and cooperation across the region, especially given that they are both democracies, but we hope this opens the door for them to resolve the remaining differences," said Victoria Nuland, US State Department spokeswoman.
The British Foreign Office said the reports of normalisation of relations between Israel and Turkey was welcomed by Britain, adding that both countries were important partners for the United Kingdom and the relationship between them was important for the stability of the Middle East region.
NATO and the European Union also welcomed the news with NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu saying that the Israeli apology was an important step to advance regional dialogue, stability and international cooperation.
Spokesperson for the EU's top foreign policy representative, Catherine Ashton, said both Turkey and Israel were two important partners of the Union and improvement of the their relations was the in the interest of peace and security in the Middle East.
Erdogan to visit Gaza
Prime Minister of the Palestinian government in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh Turkey "won a victory against Israel," adding that the Turkish premier would soon visit Gaza.
The long awaited apology came during a phone conversation between Turkish and Israeli prime ministers on Friday.
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 Israeli premier regretted the recent deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey and expressed his commitment to overcoming their differences in order to advance peace and stability in the region.
The statement said Netanyahu had made clear that the tragic outcome of the Mavi Marmara incident was not intended by Israel and that Israel regretted the loss of human life and injury.
"In light of Israel's investigation into the incident which pointed to a number of operational mistakes, the Prime Minister expressed Israel's apology to the Turkish people for any mistakes that might have led to the loss of life or injury and agreed to conclude an agreement on compensation/non-liability," the statement said.
The statement said 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.Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Mart 2013, 10:48