In a briefing on July 25, Mullen said he used his visit to Israel during
the previous week to urge for a reconciliation with Turkey, Middle East Newsline reported. Mullen said
cooperation between Israel, Turkey and the United States was key for
"And I was reassured by the Israeli leadership that they're working to
strengthen the ties with Turkey," Mullen said. "That's a significant
relationship that is longstanding."
Israeli officials confirmed that Mullen discussed the relationship with
Turkey and the need for reconciliation. The government of Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been divided over Ankara's demand for an
apology for the killing of eight Turks, which took place during a battle for
control over the Turkish flagged Mavi Marmara.
"Turkey is a vital strategic country," Israeli Homeland Security
Minister Matan Vilnai said. "I have no problem apologizing."
The main Israeli opponents of the Turkish demands have been Foreign
Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon. Both have
asserted that Turkey has no desire to reconcile with Israel.
Officials said Washington wants Israel and Turkey to work closely to
prevent any regional war from neighboring Syria. They said the United
States fears a provocation by either Iran or its proxy Hizbullah against the
"What I certainly got from the brief visit [to Israel] is
the goal of working through these difficult issues and strengthen that
the reasons that that region is so critical," Mullen said.