Israel moved to mollify Turkey over its airstrike in Syria last month.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Cabinet colleagues Sunday that he discussed the Sept. 6 sortie during a London meeting last week with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey had lodged protests with Jerusalem after discovering fuel tanks in its territory that apparently had been dumped by Israeli warplanes on their return from Syria. Israel has not formally given details on the target of the raid, which analysts speculate may have been a nascent Syrian nuclear reactor.
“In my meeting with the Turkish prime minister, I said that if indeed Israeli planes strayed into Turkish air space, then this was not deliberate and there was no intention – planned or otherwise – to harm or undermine Turkish sovereignty, which we respect, in any way,” Olmert’s office quoted him as telling the ministers.
Olmert further said he apologized “to the Turkish government and people for any affront, if there was any.”
Muslim but secular, Turkey is one of Israel’s most important regional allies, but Ankara has also been at pains to maintain good ties with Syria and the Arab world.