After three years of strained relations Israel issued a formal apology to Turkey and agreed to pay compensation over the Mavi Marmara killings of 2010 on March 22 after a phone conversation between the two countries’ premiers, Benjamin Netanyahu and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to a statement by Israel’s foreign affairs ministry, Netanyahu told Erdogan he had just had good conversations with President Obama about regional cooperation and the importance of Israel-Turkey relations and that he regretted the recent deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey and expressed his commitment to overcoming their differences in order to advance peace and stability in the region.
He made clear that the tragic outcome of the Mavi Marmara incident was not intended by Israel and that Israel regrets the loss of human life and injury.
The Prime Minister expressed Israel’s apology to the Turkish people for any mistakes that might have led to the loss of life or injury and agreed to conclude an agreement on compensation/nonliability.
Netanyahu also noted that Israel had substantially lifted the restrictions on the entry of civilian goods into the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, and that this would continue as long as calm prevailed. The two leaders agreed to continue to work to improve the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories.
On May 31, 2010 the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) boarded the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the largest ship in a flotilla aimed at breaking Israel’s siege on Gaza in May 2010, leaving nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.
Turkey demanded a formal apology but Israel refused to make a formal apology and pay conpensation to families of the dead. As a result, expelled Jerusalem’s ambassador from Ankara.
Diplomatic ties were severely downgraded, ever since.