Speaking with reporters in Istanbul, Turkey, today, Secretary of State John Kerry compared the activists who died in the 2010 Gaza-flotilla raid orchestrated by Israel to the victims who perished last week at the hands of the Boston marathon bombers. The raid, which left nine dead, was Israel’s military response to a Turkish human-rights organization’s attempt to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza strip.
Asked about the recent rapprochement between Israel and Turkey, Kerry said, “I know it’s an emotional issue with some people. I particularly say to the families of people who were lost in the incident we understand these tragedies completely and we sympathize with them. And nobody — I mean, I have just been through the week of Boston and I have deep feelings for what happens when you have violence and something happens and you lose people that are near and dear to you. It affects a community, it affects a country. We’re very sensitive to that.”
During President Obama’s visit to Israel last month, he helped orchestrate Israel’s apology to Turkey for operational mistakes that occurred during the raid, revealed in an Israeli investigation into the incident. Israel’s raid on the flotilla’s ship, the Mavi Marmara, led a deterioration in the relationship between the two countries that the Obama administration is hoping to address.
“We are . . . completing the task of moving to full diplomatic relations between the countries, which would be beneficial to everybody,” Kerry said.