Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today issued the following statement on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology for an Israeli military raid on a flotilla in 2010 that ended in the death of nine Turkish activists. Congressman Cohen is the Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on Turkey:
"I'm happy that America's two best friends in the Middle East, Israel and Turkey, have normalized diplomatic relations and are sending Ambassadors back to each other's respective capitals. On March 19, I met with Turkish Ambassador Namik Tan in Washington, D.C. and broached with him the need to repair the diplomatic relationship between Israel and Turkey -- the oldest, most prominent democracies in the Middle East. The flotilla raid in 2010 fractured what was once a strong alliance between Israel and Turkey. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology will go a long way toward promoting peace in the Middle East and strengthening the bond between the United States, Israel and Turkey. I congratulate Prime Minister Netanyahu for the apology and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogun for accepting the apology and committing to the normalization of diplomatic relations. It is vital for the stability of the region that Israel and Turkey return to their once-friendly relationship and I applaud President Obama for his diplomatic statesmanship that has brought about this very important rapprochement."