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      Report: U.S. Working to Repair Turkey-Israel Relations

      The U.S. has been working behind the scenes to repair the strained relations between Israel and Turkey.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 5/11/2012, 6:43 AM

      Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
      Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
      Reuters

      The strained relations between Turkey and Israel may soon be improving, according to a Channel 10 News report on Thursday.

      The relations between the two countries have been strained for almost two years. It all began shortly after Turkey demanded that Israel apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals onboard the Mavi Marmara in May of 2010. The Turkish citizens were killed when Israeli soldiers who boarded the Gaza-bound ship were forced to open fire, after being attacked by the IHH terrorists on board with clubs and knives.

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused to apologize for the incident, and Turkey responded by downgrading its diplomatic ties with Israel.

      Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan further deteriorated the situation when he chose to verbally attack Israel on several occasions.

      Now, however, behind the scenes efforts are being made to improve the relations, according to Channel 10. The report said the efforts are being coordinated by U.S. officials, who are trying to arrange a meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his Turkish counterpart.

      One reason for these attempts is the warming relations between U.S. President Barack Obama and Erdogan, Channel 10 reported. Another reason is that Barak, as well as newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, strongly support normalization of the relations with Turkey.

      Barak at one point caved and said Israel was "willing to consider apologizing" for problems that occurred during the raid on the Marmara.

      Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman have expressed their strong objection to the idea of any apology for the incident on the Marmara. However, according to Channel 10, the fact that Barak and Mofaz together now carry a larger weight within the government may result in the warming of relations with Turkey.

      Meanwhile, Turkish prosecutors announced that they have completed their investigation into the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla.

      According to Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, Turkish government officials requested information from the Israeli Foreign Ministry on soldiers to be mentioned in the indictment.