Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Netanyahu explains Turkey decision

US President Barack Obama, left, listens to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their visit to the Children's Memorial at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, Israel, Friday, March 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has explained why the country has restored relations with Turkey (AP)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says concerns over the security of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile were the motivating factor in restoring relations with Turkey.

Mr Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday that Israel and Turkey, which border Syria, need to communicate with each other over the issue.

The Syrian "crisis" and the possibility that al-Qaida-linked groups could acquire chemical weapons was "the main consideration," in restoring ties, he wrote.

Mr Netanyahu phoned his Turkish counterpart on Friday and apologised for a botched raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010 that left eight Turks and one Turkish-American dead. Turkey demanded an apology as a condition for restoring ties.

The Israeli premier had until now refused to apologise, saying Israeli soldiers acted in self-defence after being attacked by activists. Relations were tense before the flotilla incident.

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