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Media Watch

Israel’s Apology to Turkey, March 2013

Issue No. 40
Monday, 20 May 2013

By: MariMuthu U
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Note: Ever since the flotilla incident of 31 May 2010 in which nine Turkish citizens were killed when Israeli commandos raided Mavi Marmara [Media Watch], relations between the two countries have deteriorated. Demanding Israeli apology and compensation, in September 2011 Turkey recalled its ambassador from Israel and subsequently expelled the Israeli ambassador in Ankara. Following considerable diplomatic manoeuvres and pressures on 22 March 2013 during his visit to Israel US President Barack Obama brokered a deal whereby Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a phone call to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan  and conveyed a formal apology. Regarding this event, editorial commentaries from the international and the Middle Eastern media on this event are reproduced here. Editor MEI@ND.

The New York Times, New York, Editorial, 22 March 2013, Friday
1. Overdue Reconciliation
President Obama concluded a successful visit to Israel on Friday (22 March) by helping broker an end to the self-defeating standoff between two American allies, Israel and Turkey. The breakthrough is a credit to both prime ministers, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, but it is also a sign that Mr. Obama, criticized as “leading from behind” on foreign policy, is prepared to engage more directly in international affairs. For the full text

The Saudi Gazette, Jeddah, Editorial Saturday, 23 March 2013, Saturday
2. Finally, Israel apologizes
Israel’s apology to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara killings is confirmation that Israel and only Israel was responsible for the tragedy. Ever since the deaths of nine Turkish activists aboard the international flotilla bound for Gaza in 2010, Turkey and much of the international community have insisted that Israel was to blame, and on Friday (22 March), after three years of defiance, Israel acceded. For the full text

The Indian Express, New Delhi, Editorial, 23 March 2013 Saturday
3. Israeli PM sorry for deadly Turkey ship raid in 2010
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Friday (22 March) apologized in a personal phone call to Turkey's prime minister for a deadly commando raid on a Turkish ship in 2010, in a sudden step toward reconciliation between the two countries that was partly brokered by President Obama during his visit to Israel this week, according to Israeli, Turkish and American officials. For the full text

Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv, Editorial 24 March 2013, Sunday
4. Reconciliation, rehabilitation with Turkey
After the destruction, the work of rehabilitation is now the challenge on the doorstep of the two leaders. They cannot lose any more time. A combination of determined American diplomacy, coinciding interests, regional threats and a new political map in Israel have produced the official reconciliation between Israel and Turkey. This reconciliation should have taken place three years ago, close to the time of the tragic raid of the Mavi Marmara, in which nine Turkish civilians were killed. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial 24 March 2013 Sunday
5. Apology and beyond…
Diplomacy in the Middle East finally got a shot in the arm. The belated apology that came from Israel for the 2010 commando raid on an aid flotilla is a promising development. The trigger-happy adventure of Tel Aviv in the high seas had killed nine Turkish activists on board a ship that was trying to breach the Israel-inflicted Gaza blockade. For the full text

The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem, Editorial, 25 March 2013, Monday
6. Turkish ties
Regional realities require that Israel now swallow a bitter pill and do what is right, for the future of Israel, the region and our common interests with the United States. It could not have been easy for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to accept US President Barack Obama’s request and issue an official apology to Turkey. For the full text

The Australian, Sydney, Editorial, 27 March 2013
7. Iran's foes are Israel's friends
THE significance of US President Barack Obama's coup in persuading Israel and Turkey to restore close diplomatic and military ties can be measured in Iran's testy response. Apart from the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, no bilateral relationship in the Middle East is more critical. The rapprochement between Jerusalem and Ankara has profound implications, not just for the conflict in Syria and its potential to engulf its neighbours, but also for containing Iran's nuclear ambitions and regional designs. For the full text

The Washington Post, Washington, Editorial, 29 March 2013, Friday
8. Israel and Turkey let bygones be bygones
The darkening situation in the Middle East has produced a silver lining. With Syria’s civil war intensifying and Iran showing no sign of slowing its nuclear program, Israel and Turkey have patched a nearly three-year-old rift. In a 22 March (Friday) phone call stage-managed by President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the deaths of nine Turks in a 2010 Israeli raid on a ferry attempting to breach the sea blockade of the Gaza Strip. For the full text

The National, Dubai, Editorial 10 April 2013, Wednesday
10. Palestinians will benefit if Turkey pushes Israel
US president Barack Obama arrived home from the Middle East last month basking in the news that Israel had apologized to Turkey for the deadly MV Mavi Marmara raid of 2010, which had poisoned bilateral relations. For the full text

The Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem, Editorial 22 April 2013, Monday
11. Realpolitik apology
Obama handed the phone to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who proceeded to apologize for the “tragic results” of the Mavi Marmara. Just minutes before US President Barack Obama wrapping up a three-day visit in Israel boarded Air Force One for Jordan he gave Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan a ring. After a few formalities, Obama handed the phone to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who proceeded to apologize for the “tragic results” of clashes between IDF soldiers and pro-Hamas Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010. For the full text

Compiled by MariMuthu U

MariMuthu U is a Doctoral candidate at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Email

As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND.  Editor, MEI@ND:  P R Kumaraswamy