[DEBATE] : Israel-Turkey Diplomatic Spat Worsens, despite End of Gaza Fighting
critical.montages at gmail.com
Tue Jan 20 17:25:47 GMT 2009
Outside the Arab world, Turkey probably saw the largest protests
against Israel's massacres in Gaza. -- Yoshie
Israel-Turkey diplomatic spat worsens, despite end of Gaza fighting
By Barak Ravid
The crisis in relations between Israel and Turkey, which began when
the Gaza operation began three weeks ago, is getting worse. A
political source in Jerusalem said that the head of the
political-security bureau at the Defense Ministry, Amos Gilad, refused
to meet with Ahmet Davutoglu, the senior foreign policy adviser to
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while the two were in
Cairo last week.
Last Thursday, Amos Gilad visited Cairo for talks with Egypt's Omar
Suleiman on a cease-fire agreement. At the time, Davutoglu, who had
served as a mediator in Israel's talks with Syria in Istanbul, was in
touch with Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshal, who is based on
Damascus. At the start of the Gaza operation, Erdogan instructed
Davutoglu to serve as a conduit between Hamas and the West and also
try to involve Turkey in the cease-fire negotiations. Egypt expressed
its reservations at Turkey's involvement and refused even to allow
Davutoglu to sit in on talks with senior Hamas officials in Cairo.
But it turns out that not only Egypt refused to have exchanges with
Davutoglu. So did Israel. A political source in Jerusalem said that on
Thursday, when Gilad was in Cairo, the Turkish ambassador to Egypt
called his Israeli counterpart, Shalom Cohen. The Turkish ambassador
asked for a meeting between Davutoglu and Gilad to deliver a message
from Hamas. The political source said the Turks "asked for even a
five-minute meeting" and that the ambassador called back several
The Turkish request was relayed to Gilad by the Israeli ambassador,
but he refused to meet with Davutoglu. The Israeli political source
said the reason for the refusal was the deterioration in relations
between Jerusalem and Ankara, stemming from the unprecedented verbal
attacks by Erdogan on Israel.
The source added that another reason was the unwillingness to allow
the Turks to intervene in the cease-fire talks and the wish to rely
solely on the Egyptian channel.
Erdogan's attacks on Israel in recent weeks have been particularly
fierce, with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert specifically targeted for what
the Turkish leader called "lying to him and acting behind his back."
The words of the leader of the AKP, Turkey's ruling Islamist party,
were a source of anger among Turkey's military, where there is concern
that the rift would undermine the strategic ties with Israel.
More information about the Debate-list