Turkey

The Turkish 'golden age' is over

By Sami Kohen, January 21, 2010

The recent crisis between Israel and Turkey over Israeli deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon’s public humiliation of the Turkish ambassador seems to have been resolved following Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s visit on Sunday to Ankara. But in the long-term, there seems little chance of an improvement in the strained relations between the two countries.

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Barak is Israel’s de-facto foreign minister

By Anshel Pfeffer, January 21, 2010

No new strategic agreements or arms deals were signed during Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s visit to Ankara on Sunday; he did not even get to meet the prime minister.

Still, the half-day trip was described as “very positive”. These days, any diplomatic contact between Israel and Turkey that does not end acrimoniously is seen as a definite success.

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Crisis after Israel 'humiliates' Turkey

By Anshel Pfeffer and Sami Kohen, January 14, 2010

Relations between Israel and Turkey hit an all-time low this week after Israel’s deputy foreign minister publicly humiliated the Turkish ambassador in Jerusalem.

Turkey threatened to order its ambassador home and the matter was only resolved after Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon personally apologised, twice.

The row broke out on Monday when Mr Ayalon called in Turkish Ambassador Oguz Celikkol to rebuke him over the second drama series to be broadcast on Turkish television recently showing Israeli agents murdering civilians.

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Turkey threat to recall envoy after Ayalon row

By Jessica Elgot, January 13, 2010

Turkey has threatened to recall its ambassador to Israel after his alleged humiliating reprimand by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

Turkish envoy Ahmet Oguz Celikkol was apparently made to sit in a low chair during his heated discussions with Mr Ayalon, who refused to shake his hand. He was called in after a TV programme aired on Turkish TV which depicted IDF soldiers as brutal killers and babysnatchers.

Mr Ayalon also allegedly told reporters that they should photograph the ambassador sitting in the low chair.

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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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