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      Netanyahu: Syria Chaos a Factor in Turkey Apology

      Prime Minister explains concern over Syria's WMDs and "additional regional challenges" necessitate dialogue between Israel and Turkey.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 3/23/2013, 7:59 PM

      Binyamin Netanyahu
      Binyamin Netanyahu
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained Saturday evening in his Facebook page why he chose to apologize to Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the Mavi Marmara incident, in a Friday telephone conversation.

      "After three years of a disconnect in Israeli-Turkish relations," he wrote, "I decided that this is the time to rebuild them."

      "The changing reality around us forces us to continually reexamine our relations with the countries surrounding us in the region. In the last three years, the state of Israel has made several attempts to end the disconnect between us and Turkey.

      "The fact that the crisis in Syria is getting worse by the minute was, for me, a central consideration.

      "Syria is crumbling, and the huge, advanced stockpiles of weapons within it are starting to fall into the hands of different elements.

      "The great danger is that the chemical weapon stockpiles will fall into the hands of terror groups.

      "The reality in Syria, which includes, among other things, jihadist elements that have begun to establish their presence next to our border on the Golan, creates great challenges for our security establishment. We are following the goings-on there and are prepared to respond accordingly.

      "It is important that Turkey and Israel, which border on Syria, are able to communicate with each other, and this is also desirable with regard to additional regional challenges.

      "In addition, the visit by U.S. President Obama, along with Secretary of State Kerry, created a diplomatic opportunity to end the crisis.

      "Therefore, toward the end of the American president's visit, I decided to call the Turkish prime minister in order to end the crisis and patch up relations between the countries."