TEL AVIV – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkey today for an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, both countries said today.
Netanyahu phoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan to express regret for the deaths of nine activists killed during a 2010 Israeli commando raid on a Turkish vessel.
Netanyahu made the call during an airport meeting with US President Barack Obama before Obama departed Israel after his first visit to the Jewish state since taking office in 2009.
The move – coming nearly three years after the clash – was a diplomatic triumph for Obama, who was making his first trip to Israel as US president.
The prime minister acknowledged “operational mistakes,” and Erdogan accepted the apology for the raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara flotilla ship, a vessel transporting aid to Gazans and intent on breaking an Israeli sea blockade.
Eight Turks and an American of Turkish origin were killed in the raid, which led to a falling out over Israel’s policies and actions in the Palestinian territory of Gaza. (CNN)