Turkey

Turkish and Israeli envoys rebuild ties

By Simon Rocker, December 3, 2009

Israel and Turkey’s ambassadors to the UK put aside the friction between their two countries over the past year by sharing a joint platform in London on Monday.

Israeli envoy Ron Prosor gave his Turkish counterpart Yigit Alpogan a friendly pat on the back after a well-attended meeting in Westminster jointly hosted by the Conservative Friends of Israel and Conservative Friends of Turkey.

Mr Prosor said the event was “testimony to the significance of the relationship between Israel and Turkey and the magnitude of the shared interests and values we hold together”.

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Israel and Turkey vow to improve ties

By Sami Kohen, November 26, 2009

After nearly a year of strained ties, Israel and Turkey have vowed to improve their bilateral relations and discussed the prospect of Turkey mediating Israeli talks with Syria.

Israeli Minister for Industry, Trade and Labour, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, spent two days in Turkey this week. It was the first such trip by an Israeli minister since Operation Cast Lead, which was the catalyst for a breakdown in relations between the allies.

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Rabbi 'dug up graves for profit'

By Robyn Rosen, October 29, 2009

The former head of the London Beth Din, Dayan Chanoch Ehrentreu, is to chair an extraordinary hearing against the chief rabbi of Turkey, who has been accused of desecrating ancient Jewish graves in Istanbul.

The allegations against Rabbi Yitzhak Haleva and his son, Rabbi Naftali Haleva of the Ortakoy congregation, have been made in a complaint to the Conference of European Rabbis (CER) by Israeli journalist Shaul Schiff.

He claimed the “destruction and desecration” of three Jewish cemeteries was ordered by “those craving wealth and profit”.

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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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