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Turkish officials: Flotilla raid an 'event between friends'

Aug. 26, 2010 3:26 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 27, 2010 5:58 P.M.)
WASHINGTON (Ma'an) -- Senior Turkish officials in Washington reaffirmed their commitment to maintaining friendly relations with Israel, Turkish media reported Thursday.

The delegation, headed by Turkey's Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu, was visiting Washington weeks after media reports that the US threatened to pull out of arms deals if Turkey did not review its criticism of Israel. The US and Turkey both denied the reports.

Turkish-Israeli relations have been strained since Turkey condemned Israel's Operation Cast Lead offensive on Gaza. Israel's raid on a Turkish Gaza-bound aid ship, in which Israeli naval forces killed nine Turkish citizens on board, further deteriorated ties between the allies.

During meetings with US officials, one of the Turkish diplomats reportedly described the 31 May raid as an event "between two friends," which did not affect Turkey's relations with Israel or with the Jewish people, but with the Israeli government, the Turkish daily Zaman said.

The diplomat also said that the incident was shocking because it occurred between two allies, according to the paper.

If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had agreed to his Turkish counterpart's request for an apology, the matter could have been resolved sooner, the sources added.
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