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Ayalon (L) with Turkish ambassador
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Erdogan in Lebanon
Photo: Reuters
Israel: Turkey has no right to preach morality
Deputy foreign minister reprimands ambassador for Turkish TV show depicting Mossad agents as baby snatchers, tells reporters he wants it to be seen that ambassador 'is seated below him'

The Foreign Ministry responded Monday to criticism launched at Israel by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and said that "the Turks have absolutely no right to preach morality to the State of Israel and the IDF".

 

Also on Monday, Turkey's ambassador to Israel was summoned by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon to receive an official reprimand for a Turkish television show depicting Mossad agents as baby snatchers.

 

"The prime minister's speech joins the broadcasting of the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic Turkish television show, as well as severe criticisms being continuously and systematically launched at Israel for over a year now, since Erdogan attacked President Peres in Davos," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy said in a statement.

 

Ayalon refused to shake Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol's hand when asked to do so by journalists attending the official reprimand, and said in Hebrew that "we just want it to be seen that he is seated below us and that there is only one flag here".

 

In English, he told the ambassador that "unfortunately there is something we are concerned about, which I want to discuss with you without the presence of the press, in order to preserve discretion".

 

A Foreign Ministry official criticized Ayalon's "embarrassing" conduct, saying it would only fuel tensions between Israel and Turkey.

 

Regarding Erdogan's criticism of Israel, the ministry's statement condemned "the Turkish prime minister's unbridled attack at a joint press conference with the Lebanese prime minister".

 

"Israel maintains respect for Turkey and is interested in proper relations between the two states, however we expect reciprocity and a similar attitude from the Turkish side," Levy said in a statement.

 

Earlier Monday Erdogan held a joint news conference with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and urged Israel to 'stop violating Lebanon's airspace and territorial waters'. He also called on the UN Security Council to put same pressure on Israel regarding nuclear arms as it does on Iran.

 

"We can never remain silent in the face of Israel's attitude. ... It has disproportionate power and it is using that at will while refusing to abide by UN resolutions. We can never accept this picture," Erdogan said. "These steps threaten global peace."

 

He also accused Israel of using of white phosphorus shells in Operation Cast Lead. "No one can claim that phosphorus shells are not weapons of mass destruction," he said.

 

"The State of Israel has every right to defend its citizens from missile and terror attacks launched by Hezbollah and Hamas. The Turks have absolutely no right to preach morality to the State of Israel and the IDF, which is the most moral army in the world," the Foreign Ministry statement read.

 

Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer are scheduled to visit Turkey next week to discuss security-related cooperation.

 

Sources close to Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Ayalon was not aware that the television cameras were on when he made the comments.

 

"Sometimes it is necessary to convey a firm message. This isn’t the first time we have seen these anti-Israel and anti-Semitic (Turkish) TV shows or heard statements similar to those Erdogan made today," a senior Foreign Ministry official said.

 


First published: 11.01.10, 21:11
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