'Syria crisis necessitated Turkey apology'

Netanyahu says fear that Damascus's chemical weapons will fall into the hands of terror organizations led to apology.

March 23, 2013 19:54
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at last cabinet meeting of current govenment, March 10, 2013.

Netanyahu looking morose at cabinet meeting 370. (photo credit: GPO)


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The worsening crisis in Syria necessitated restoring relations with Turkey, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday evening, explaining the reasoning to his apology to Ankara over the death of nine Turkish activists on board a Gaza-bound flotilla.

"It is important that Turkey and Israel, that both border with Syria, could communicate with each other," Netanyahu wrote, noting the restoration of ties is also needed to deal with other regional challenges.

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"The constantly changing reality around us forces us to reexamine our relations with countries in the region all the time," the prime minister wrote.

"Syria is crumbling, and its massive and advanced weapons arsenal is starting to fall into the hands of different factions. The biggest risk is [Syria's] chemical weapons falling into the hands of terror organizations," he added.

In a dramatic development that occurred just as US President Barack Obama was leaving the country, Netanyahu spoke with Erdogan on Friday, voicing regret for the loss of life in the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, apologizing for any mistakes that led to the death of Turkish activists. Breaking a three-year deadlock, the two agreed to normalize relations.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed an apology to the Turkish people for any error that may have led to the loss of life, and agreed to complete the agreement for compensation," a White House statement said.

The conversation was facilitated by Obama, taking place during his prolonged meeting with Netanyahu on Friday afternoon.

While Prime Minister Netanyahu sounded optimistic, his Turkish counterpart Erdogan said on Saturday that it is still too soon for fully restore diplomatic ties with Israel, and that it is yet too early to drop the case against IDF generals accused of being responsible for the Marmara incident.

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