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Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 1, 2013 at 7:02 AM

Obama mediates resolution between Israel and Turkey

Move is constructive for relationship between U.S. and Middle East

President Obama is flanked by Israeli leaders Shimon Peres, left, and Benjamin Netanyahu, on March 22 in Israel. (LIOR MIZRAHI / GETTY IMAGES)

President Obama is flanked by Israeli leaders Shimon Peres, left, and Benjamin Netanyahu, on March 22 in Israel. (LIOR MIZRAHI / GETTY IMAGES)

I join Americans of Turkish descent, members of the Pax Turcica Institute, to welcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent apology and offer of compensation to Turkey for a mishandled Israeli military raid on the Mavi Marmara cruise ship in May 2010 [“Win for Obama: Israel, Turkey resolve dispute,” News, March 23].

This tragic incident in the eastern Mediterranean resulted in nine Turkish civilian deaths, including that of a Turkish American, aboard a ship delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza in international waters. In the aftermath of the incident, the leading Turkish-American organizations, Assembly of Turkish American Associations and Federation of Turkish American Associations, appealed for the avoidance of one-sided judgments and for conducting an impartial international investigation into the matter.

According to an Israeli government statement, Netanyahu made it clear that the tragic results of the Mavi Marmara incident were unintentional and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life. On behalf of the Turkish nation, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accepted the Israeli apology and dropped all charges against the Israeli military commanders.

I commend President Obama for facilitating this move by Israel’s leadership during his latest visit there. Both Turkey and Israel are key regional U.S. allies, which share a long history of mutual friendship and cooperation. The Turkish-Israeli rapprochement would strengthen the constructive U.S. role in the Middle East. And I appeal to all Turkic- and Jewish-American communities to support this wonderful opportunity.

–AJ Arslancan, Everett

0 Comments | More in Barack Obama administration, Foreign policy, Israel | Topics: Turkey

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