Turkey and Israel should improve their diplomatic ties and accept the recommendations of a UN report which looked into the deaths of nine Turks in the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound ship, the UN secretary-general has said. Ban Ki-moon said strong ties between Turkey and Israel, which both share a border with Syria, were important for the Middle East. "I sincerely hope that Israel and Turkey will improve their relationship," Ban told reporters in Canberra, Australia, on Saturday after talks with Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister. "Both countries are very important countries in the region. Their improved relationship, normal relationship, will be very important in addressing all the situations in the Middle East, including the Middle East peace process." Ban said he would make no comment on the specifics of the report, written by a panel headed by Geoffrey Palmer, a former New Zealand prime minister.