U.S. concerned about deterioration of Turkish-Israeli ties

Washington (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - The U.S. State Department spokesperson said on Tuesday that Washington was concerned about the deterioration of Turkish-Israeli relations because of their row on how to handle the Israeli deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last year which killed 9 Turkish nationals.

"We have over many months tried to work with our ally, Turkey, and our ally, Israel, to strengthen and improve their bilateral relationship," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said at a regular briefing.

"We still believe that getting back to a good partnership between them is in each of their interests, and we will continue to work for that goal with both of them, but we are concerned about the state of the relationship today," she said.

Nuland said the U.S. hoped that it could "de-escalate" and " diffuse" the tensions and get the two countries back to "talking about improving their relationship."

She said in order to help mend their relations, U.S. State Secretary Clinton recently had a long bilateral meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Paris and the U.S. also had a number of conversations with Israel on this over the last few days.

A long-awaited UN report investigating an incident of a deadly flotilla heading for Gaza said on Friday that Israel`s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal and appropriate, but that the raid of the flotilla was "excessive and unreasonable."

During the incident, Israeli soldiers boarded a Turkish aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip, and the ensuing confrontation caused the death of nine flotilla passengers.

In a furious response to the Jewish state`s refusal to apologize for the deadly attack, Turkey decided on Friday to downgrade the Turkish-Israeli diplomatic relations to the level of second-secretary and suspend all military ties with Israel. (*)