Clinton: I spent years urging Israel to apologize to Turkey
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
AFP photoU.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Sept. 9 that she has spent years trying to convince Israeli to apologize to Turkey for a deadly attack on an aid flotilla to Gaza in 2010.
“We lost what was not just a working relationship but a real bridge,” Clinton said. “I spent, you know, literally years trying to get the Israelis to finally apologize to the Turks on the flotilla.”
She said she spoke to strategists such as Henry Kissinger to help her present a strategic argument to convince Israel that it should apologize to the Turks as soon as possible so that relations with Turkey could resume.
Clinton’s comments came during a discussion at the Brooking Institution where she responded to a question of whether the U.S. could lead a partnership between Israel and Arab states, or other U.S. allies.
She said forming Mideast partnerships on shared interests is an opportunity, but warned it is not an easy goal to accomplish – before providing the example of the Turkish-Israeli split on the flotilla case.
Israeli commandos stormed the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara in 2010 while in international waters as the vessel carried humanitarian aid to Gaza. Ten Turkish citizens were killed, including a Turkish-American, and many others wounded in the operation.
The Mavi Marmara was one of six ships in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla carrying aid and construction materials to Gaza in an attempt to break a blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkey in a telephone call to then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during a visit to Israel by President Barack Obama was on a visit to Israel in March 2013.
Clinton, at the time, was no longer serving as secretary of state.