Peres: Israel, Turkey Have 'One Thousand Reasons' to Be Friends
Israel and Turkey have "a thousand reasons" to be on friendly terms again, Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Turkish television Sunday.
The comments come in response to reports Friday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu voiced regret in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, for the the deaths of nine Turkish citizens who brutally attacked Israeli soldiers on the Mavi Marmara.
"I can think of a thousand reasons why Turkey and Israel should be friends; I cannot find one reason why they shouldn't be friends," Peres said in an interview with CNN Turk.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin apologized on Friday to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan for what Peres called a "misunderstanding".
"I think somehow both countries wanted to put an end to this misunderstanding and return to the good relations that have existed between Turkey and ourselves for many good years," the prime minister said.
Peres said both nations, which will now resume full diplomatic ties, were united in their concerns over the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria.
"Unluckily the chemical arsenal remains. It is a danger to the people of Syria, to Lebanon, to the whole world,” he said. “Everyone feels uneasy. It's not a simple problem. Turkey, being a leading force in the region, is worried like we are."
Asked whether he would soon be able to make up with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Peres replied: "It can happen soon. I mean, we never interrupted the relations with Turkey."
The apology has been criticized by Israel's former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Additionally, the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center maintained that the apology is “pathetic pandering to an Islamic extremist who compared Zionism to fascism and is still trying to indict Israeli officers for war crimes.”