Eager for two allies of America to repair their relationship, US Secretary of State John Kerry has urged Turkey and Israel to restore full diplomatic ties.
Kerry begins a 10-day overseas trip in Turkey and sees the two countries as an anchor of stability in the Middle East facing political upheaval from the Arab Spring, civil war in Syria and Iran’s nuclear programme.
“We would like to see this relationship get back on track in its full measure. To be back on track in its full measure, it is imperative that the compensation component of the agreement be fulfilled, that the ambassadors be returned and that full relationship be embraced,” Kerry said in Ankara.
Referring to the killing of nine Turkish citizens by Israeli marines on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza three years ago, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davotoglu said: “Everybody should be aware that Mavi Marmara was a painful experience. This pain can be healed psychologically only if all parties become sensitive. I have spoken to families and saw that their pain has not healed yet.”
Last month Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologised for the flotilla deaths and promised compensation to the families of those killed during a phone call with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The call was arranged by US President Barack Obama during his trip to Israel.