Turkish officials in Washington assured the Americans that Ankara plans to maintain friendly ties with Israel despite the May 31 flotilla incident in which nine Turks were killed, Turkish media reported on Thursday.
A delegation of Turkish diplomats, headed by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu arrived in Washington and met with State Department officials as well as officials from the Department of Defense and Department of Commerce.
A report in Turkey's Anatolia news agency quoted a Turkish diplomat who told Washington that the flotilla raid was an incident between "two friends".
The diplomat noted that the flotilla affair was Israel's first such experience with a friendly nation, which increased the shock. He stressed that the incident does not affect Turkey's ties with Israel or the Jewish people, but with the Israeli government.
Turkey has demanded Israel apologize and compensate the victims' families. Turkish sources said that if Israel meets this demand, relations would soon improve. The diplomats asked the Americans to pressure Israel, in hopes of overcoming the aftermath of the flotilla affair.
The Turkish delegation's visit to Washington is no coincidence. The British Financial Times reported this month that US President Barack Obama spoke with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and warned him that Ankara's attitude towards Israel and Iran may threaten weapons deals between the US and Turkey.
Washington and Ankara later denied the report.
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