March 22, 2013 - 21:32 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, March 22 apologized to Turkey for 2010 flotilla raid and announced a full resumption of diplomatic ties as well as compensation for the families of those killed, his office said.
The breakthrough, which ends a nearly three-year bitter diplomatic rift, was engineered by U.S. President Barack Obama at the tail end of a historic three-day visit to the Holy Land, the first of his presidency.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One shortly after departing for Amman, a senior U.S. official said the Israeli premier had apologized to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a special phonecall from Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv.
"On behalf of Israelis he apologized for any deaths those operational mistakes might have caused," the U.S. official said.
"Prime Minister Erdogan accepted the apology on behalf of Turkey," he added, saying Obama had also spoken with the Turkish leader.
Israel and Turkey both confirmed the apology, with Netanyahu's office announcing a resumption of full diplomatic ties between the former close allies.
A source close to the Turkish government also confirmed the breakthrough. "Apologies have indeed been offered," he said.
Ties between Israel and Turkey spiralled in May 2010, when Israeli commandos staged a botched pre-dawn raid on the six-ship flotilla headed by the Mavi Marmara, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed, AFP reported.