Obama applauds call between Israel, Turkey leaders

AP News
Posted: Mar 22, 2013 10:33 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — President Barack Obama says he welcomes a telephone call Friday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey and Israel were once close allies, but relations have unraveled, exacerbated in 2010 by a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish ship that tried to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Last year, Erdogan accused Israel's leaders of trying to eliminate the Palestinian population in Gaza. And the Turkish leader recently compared Zionism to Fascism at a U.N. meeting, prompting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to object and say the remark complicated Mideast peace efforts.

Obama says it's important the two nations restore good relations so they can cooperate on regional security. The call comes on the final day of Obama's trip to Israel.