Kerry urges Turkey, Israel to take steps to normalizing ties

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry speaks during a news conference in Istanbul Credit: Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State Kerry speaks during a news conference in Istanbul
Credit: Reuters

Secretary of State John Kerry urged Turkey and Israel on Sunday to restore full relations, calling this vital to regional stability, but said it was not up to Washington to dictate the conditions of rapprochement.

An Israeli-Turkish reconciliation could improve regional coordination to contain spillover from the Syrian civil war and ease Israel’s diplomatic isolation in the Middle East as it faces the challenge of Iran’s nuclear program.

Kerry said it was imperative for Israel to honor its commitment to pay compensation to the families of those who were killed by Israeli marines aboard a Turkish vessel trying to break a naval blockade on Gaza in 2010, and for both countries to return their ambassadors.

He was speaking in Istanbul some two weeks after President Barack Obama brokered a thaw between Turkey and Israel, whose relations were frozen by the killing of nine Turkish citizens in that raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

“With respect to the Israel-Turkey track, it is not for the United States to be setting conditions or terms,” Kerry told reporters alongside Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

“We would like to see this relationship that is important to stability in the Middle East, critical to the peace process itself, we would like to see this relationship get back on track in its full measure,” he said.

“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, but it’s not up to us to discuss the timing.”

Israel on March 22 bowed to a long-standing demand by Ankara, once its close strategic partner, to apologize formally for the deaths aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara.

It was boarded by Israeli marines who had intercepted the flotilla challenging Israel’s naval blockade of the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he had agreed to conclude an agreement on compensation and that he and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan agreed to normalize ties, including re-installing their respective ambassadors.

An Israeli delegation is expected to arrive in Turkey this week to begin discussing the details of the compensation agreement. Neither country has said, however, when their ambassadors would go back.

Despite Obama’s having pulled off a diplomatic coup – a three-way telephone call with the Israeli and Turkish prime ministers, who had not spoken since 2011, some officials in Washington are worried Turkey might be backtracking on the deal.

Hours after the Israeli apology, large billboard posters sanctioned by Turkey’s ruling party mayor, appeared in the Turkish capital showing a glum-looking Netanyahu next to a glowing picture of Erdogan, suggesting some in Ankara were taking a triumphalist tone.

Erdogan then told a rally broadcast live on television that the apology signaled Turkey’s growing regional clout.

But Kerry said Turkey had responded “sensitively” and “thoughtfully” to the apology. “They have taken steps to try to prevent any sense of triumphalism. It has not come from the government. In fact, there has been limited response by the government itself and I think it’s important for everybody to take note of that,” Kerry said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

60 artists to fill shipping containers with work…

Starting Thursday, 63 industrial shipping containers will fill Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 5 for Photoville 2014. The free exhibition was founded three and a…

Local

New York City agencies to provide healthcare, legal…

Child migrants who have recently arrived in New York City and are going through deportation hearings will now have access to services from multiple agencies,…

International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."