By: Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren / The New York Times
President Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel apologized in a personal phone call to Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for a deadly raid on a Turkish ship by Israeli commandos in 2010 that killed nine people, a senior American official traveling with President Obama told reporters on Friday.
Erdogan accepted the apology, according to Turkish officials, in a sudden and major step toward healing the rift that opened between two countries after the raid. Mr. Obama appeared to play an important role in brokering the conversation, at one point getting on the phone with the two leaders as they spoke, another senior official said.
In a statement issued just before he departed Israel for Jordan, Mr. Obama welcomed the call, saying, “the United States deeply values our relationships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them, in order to advance regional peace and security.”
Discussing the phone call, a senior Turkish government officials said:
“The Israeli prime minister, in a phone call that lasted 10 minutes, apologized to the Turkish nation for all operational mistakes evident in an investigation that led to human loses, agreed to offer compensation,” the official said in a phone interview.