Obama did not force Israel's Turkey apology, Netanyahu adviser says
US President Barack Obama did not force Israel to apologize to Turkey over the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security adviser said Sunday, dpa reports.
"There was no pressure at all, not even a hint of pressure," Yaakov Amidror said.
"The president asked us. He saw it also as an American interest that two allies of the US in the Middle East settle their difference," he told Israel Radio.
Israel shot dead nine Turkish activists when it overpowered the Mavi Mamarma ship bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip in May 2010.
Netanyahu phoned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, while Obama was visiting Israel and the West Bank, and said he "regretted" the deterioration in relations.
He said the deaths had not been intentional and agreed to pay compensation. In their first talk since 2009, the two premiers agreed to return their respective ambassadors.
Amidror said Netanyahu made the apology, both "as a gesture to the president and also so that we can better cope with regional threats especially and including the Syrian danger."
He added: "We have a friendship of 500 years between the Jewish people and the Turkish people and there is not any reason why we should not to go back to being good friends and partners in an effort to achieve more security and stability in the Middle East."
Netanyahu said Saturday the crisis in Syria was the main motivation for the move, adding that the regime there was "falling apart" and its advanced weapons arsenal beginning to fall into other hands.
US Secretary of State John Kerry called the reconciliation "a very important development that will help advance the cause of peace and stability in the region."
Netanyahu and Erdogan "deserve great credit for showing the leadership necessary to make this possible," he said.