Turkey

Turkey-Israel ties take another hit

By Sami Kohen and Anshel Pfeffer, October 22, 2009

Tension between Israel and Turkey has risen further after a state-owned Turkish television channel broadcast a drama depicting Israeli soldiers as murderers and Israeli tourists vowed to boycott the country.

Last week, Israel reacted furiously after Turkey excluded Israel from a joint air force drill with the US and Nato.

Now, a new series broadcast on the TRT channel, Separation, included scenes of Israeli soldiers gunning down Palestinian civilians, including children, during Operation Cast Lead.

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Analysis: Israel's main Muslim ally is switching sides

By Sami Kohen, October 15, 2009

Turkey’s decision to bar Israel from a joint air force drill is part of the Turkish government’s new anti-Israel policy.

Turkey, which was the first Muslim country to recognise Israel as a state, has for many years been Israel’s closest Muslim ally. The countries do more than $3 billion in trade a year, co-operate on defence issues, and Turkey is a favoured destination for Israeli tourists.

However, the government has essentially launched an anti-Israel campaign since the Gaza offensive in January.

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The end of Israeli-Turkish ties?

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 15, 2009

The Israeli government is split over the correct response to Turkey’s decision to cancel a joint military exercise. While the Foreign Ministry is in favour of a belligerent stance, the defence establishment is trying to lower the tensions.

Israeli, American, Italian and Turkish warplanes were due to simulate dogfights against each other this week over Turkey, but Ankara barred Israel from participating at the last minute, in protest at Operation Cast Lead. The other participants then pulled out, leading to the cancellation of the manoeuvre.

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Turkish state TV depicts 'bloodthirsty' IDF soldiers

By Jessica Elgot, October 15, 2009

Watch the controversial Turkish TV drama

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Turkey bans Israel from air drill because of Gaza

By Jessica Elgot, October 12, 2009

Israel was deliberately excluded from a multinational air force exercise by Turkey because of concerns over Gaza, the Turkish Foreign Minister has confirmed.

The 11-day air force drill, which would have included Israel, the US, Italy, Holland and pilots from other NATO countries, was due to take place near Konya, in central Turkey.

But Turkey cancelled the exercise, which was due to start today, because it did not want Israel to participate.

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Israel says sorry to Turkey

By Sami Kohen, February 26, 2009

Israel has formally apologised to Turkey for sentiments expressed by the Israeli ground forces commander, General Avi Mizrachi, in response to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s verbal attack on Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Davos conference.

“Erdogan should look into the mirror,” said General Mizrachi, referring to the Turkish killings of Armenians in 1915 and the more recent suppression of Kurds in eastern Turkey.

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Turkey acts to stop wave of hate

By Sami Kohen, February 12, 2009

The Turkish government has launched a series of measures to combat the antisemitism that hit Turkey during Operation Cast Lead, and has started trying to mend severely strained ties with Israel.

Following strong condemnation of antisemitism by President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the State Religious Affairs Department instructed clerics in all mosques to refrain from delivering sermons that could provoke anti-Jewish feelings. During the Gaza crisis, mass demonstrations after Friday services had featured antisemitic elements.

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Erdogan ‘vows’ to fight hate

February 5, 2009

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who has been fiercely critical of Israel’s conduct in Gaza — vowed to act against a wave of antisemitism in Turkey, including street protests, direct threats to Jews and a boycott campaign, following the war.

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Angry Muslim ally sides with Hamas

By Sami Kohen, January 8, 2009

Israel’s relations with Turkey, its closest Muslim ally, are in crisis as a result of the Israeli offensive.

As thousands of Turks took to the streets of Istanbul and other cities to condemn Israel’s action, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Israel for dealing what he called “a fatal blow” to Turkey’s mediation efforts between Israel and Syria and called Israel’s action a “crime against humanity”.

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Turkish community chief disowns ‘plotter rabbi’

By Sami Kohen, November 20, 2008

The Jewish community in Turkey has warned that the case of a supposed convert to Judaism accused of being involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the government may stir antisemitic feeling.

Tuncay Guney, 36, left Turkey in 2004 and emigrated to Canada, where he reportedly adopted the Jewish faith and became a "rabbi" in Toronto.

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