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Israel and Turkey restore full diplomatic ties after Netanyahu apology

By Mason White 7:50 PM March 23, 2013
Israel Turkey joint military operation 

By: Shifra Unger
(Scroll down for video) U.S. President Barack Obama was able to finalize a truce between Israel and Turkey right before leaving Israel which will be seen as a major win for President Obama, according to official statements by Israel and Turkey.

Israel and Turkey agreed to restore full diplomatic relations on Friday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized in a phone call for the deadly naval attack against a Gaza-bound flotilla in international waters, a dramatic turn in part mediated by President Barack Obama.

Common interests between the two countries, amid fears that the Syrian civil war could spill over their borders, and some pushing by Obama made ​​possible the repair of relations after almost three years of bitterness over the deaths.

It was a surprising turn for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had long rejected calls to apologize. He announced the breakthrough after a 20-minute telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Obama helped negotiate the truce during his visit to Israel, but the parties had been reaching out to each other before.

“They agreed to restore the normalization of ties between Israel and Turkey, including the sending of ambassadors and the cancellation of legal actions against Israeli soldiers,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office, said. “Netanyahu, lamented the recent deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey, and expressed his commitment to overcome their differences in order to promote peace and stability in the region,” the statement also said.

The statement said that the bloodshed was not intentional, and suggested that the relatives of the deceased will receive compensation. In light of an Israeli investigation into the shooting that pointed to a number of operational errors, Netanyahu apologized to the Turkish people for “errors that could have led to loss of lives, injuries and agreed to conclude an agreement on compensation,” the statement said.Mobile video not loading? Click here to view