During President Obama’s trip to Israel last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for the “operational mistakes” that in May 2010 led to the deaths of nine Turks who attacked Israeli commandoes after they boarded the Turkish-sponsored Mavi Marmara to prevent it from violating the maritime blockade of Gaza. In spite of Netanyahu’s apology, Erdogan has continued to rebuff Israeli-Turkish reconciliation efforts. Accordingly, the White House sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Turkey to smooth Erdogan’s ruffled feathers. In Istanbul, Kerry compared the emotions surrounding the deaths of nine armed Turkish nationals attacking the armed forces of an American ally to Boston’s response to the bombings Monday that killed three, including an eight-year-old boy.
Mr. Kerry said he understood the anger and frustration of those Turks who lost friends and family in the raid. Mr. Kerry, a former Massachusetts senator, said last week’s Boston Marathon bombings made him acutely aware of the emotions involved.
“We have just been through the week of Boston, and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence, when something that happens when you lose people that are near and dear to you,” he said. “It affects the community; it affects the country. But going forward, you know, we have to find the best way to bring people together and undo these tensions and undo these stereotypes and try to make peace.”