A senior figure in the World Jewish Congress has accused Turkey of an anti-Israel smear campaign after it was alleged that he had been involved in a prostitution scandal.
Alexander Machkevtich, the billionaire head of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, had been linked in Turkish news reports to a raid of a yacht last month after which police took two underage prostitutes into custody.
Machkevtich, who was born in Kyrgyzstan, said that his role in the Jewish organisation made him a “target in the Turkish anti-Israeli campaign.”
He said: “It appears as if the formal Turkish authorities are promoting these publications, and by using the Israeli flag in some of them they are more than implying about their motivation.”
The businessman, 56, who made his fortune in the Kazakhstani mining industry, admitted only to being on board the yacht when the coastguard inspected it.
His spokesman said that Mr Mashkevitch was on a business trip at the time.
“Needless to say there was not any illegal, or immoral, behaviour on board the vessel. Mr Machkevitch was not a suspect at any stage."
Relations between Israel and Turkey have been rocky since the clashes on board the Gaza-bound flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, in May.