More than five years have passed since relations between longtime friends Israel and Turkey unraveled. During that time, diplomats and politicians have made countless efforts to revive what was once a deep and productive bond. U.S. President Barack Obama even interceded personally at one point, a move that seemed to have succeeded in breaking the impasse. That was in 2013, at the end of Obama’s trip to Israel, when he nudged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Erdogan to take the call, in an effort to get the leaders of the two countries to, in effect, shake and make up.
Ultimately, that and other diplomatic pushes failed to bring an end to the falling out that had started bubbling long before 2010, but finally boiled over when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ship trying to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, triggering clashes in which Israeli forces killed 10 Turkish citizens.
In the tarmac phone call last March, Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan. Subsequent negotiations then focused on compensation for the dead men’s families and a highly contentious demand from Erdogan that Israel lift the Gaza blockade, which a U.N. investigative panel had ruled was legal under international law.