JERUSALEM (JTA) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the normalization of ties between his country and Israel would benefit the entire Middle East.
“This normalization process would be good for us, Israel, Palestine and the entire region,” Erdogan told reporters Sunday, the Turkish Daily Sabah reported. “The region definitely needs this. I don’t believe the Israeli public is pleased with the current state of relations. We need to consider the interests of the people of the region and introduce peace.”
Relations between Israel and Turkey broke down after the May 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, in which nine Turkish citizens were killed in an Israeli commando raid of a Turkish boat in a flotilla seeking to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip
Erdogan reiterated his three conditions for restoring ties with Israel: an apology for the raid and the deaths, compensation to the victims’ families and the lifting of the blockade on Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan in March 2013, after which representatives of the countries met for reconciliation talks that fell apart during the Gaza War the following year.