Arab media condemned Tuesday the reprimand meeting held by Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon to Turkish Ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol. "Humiliation to Turkish ambassador to Israel – sitting on low chair," the Hezbollah website's headline read.
The Lebanese website Now Lebanon, which is affiliated with the anti-Syrian camp noted, "The Israeli Foreign Ministry meant to humiliate the Turkish ambassador befor the cameras."
The website noted that Ayalon welcomed Celikkol into the room "inappropriately" and then "offered him a seat on a lowered stool, while Ayalon sat on a stately chair higher than that of the ambassador."
Difference in seating arrangements (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The London-based al-Hayat daily's headline read "Lieberman means to escalate Israeli-Turkish relations." The article quoted sources in the Defense Ministry which claimed that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was trying to sabotage Defense Minister Ehud Barak's visit to Ankara.
"In accordance with orders from Lieberman, Ayalon meant to humiliate the ambassador. He called him into a room in his Knesset office and not to the Foreign Ministry in order to 'reprimand' him," the article noted.
The reporters who arrived in order to cover the meeting on Monday had asked Ayalon and Celikkol to shake hands, however the former refused. "The important thing is that they see he's sitting lower and we're up high and that there's only one flag, and you see we're not smiling," Ayalon muttered in Hebrew with the embarrassed Turkish envoy next to him.
Some Foreign Ministry elements criticized the reprimand meeting. "These embarrassing acts are not necessary in order to raise the issue," a senior official in the ministry said.
Daniel Edelson contributed to this report