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Ayalon, sitting up high Photo: Gil Yohanan
Ayalon, sitting up high Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
Celikkol, reprimanded Photo: Gil Yohanan
Celikkol, reprimanded Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
Netanyahu, satisfied with clarification Photo: AFP
Netanyahu, satisfied with clarification Photo: AFP
 
 

Ayalon to 'behave diplomatically' in future

Deputy foreign minister doesn't apologize for controversial behavior in reprimand meeting with Turkish envoy to Israel, but says 'will clarify position in diplomatically acceptable ways in future'. . PM says satisfied with Ayalon's clarification

Roni Sofer
Latest Update: 01.13.10, 09:09 / Israel News

After the diplomatic crisis that followed the deputy foreign minister's controversial behavior in his meeting with Turkish Ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol, Daniel Ayalon seems to be folding – but not apologizing.

 

"In the future, I will clarify my position in diplomatically acceptable ways," the deputy minister said on Wednesday, stressing that "my protest of the attacks against Israel from Turkey is alive and well. However, it is not my way to disrespect ambassadors."

 

The Prime Minister's Office later issued a statement saying that Benjamin Netanyahu: "Believes the protest conveyed by the Foreign Ministry to the Turkish ambassador via Deputy Minister Daniel Ayalon was in place, but it should have been conveyed in acceptable diplomatic manner."

 

However, Netanyahu expressed his satisfaction with the deputy foreign minister's clarification in the matter.

 

The recent escalation in ties between the two countries started on Monday, when the Turkish ambassador was summoned by the deputy foreign minister, who wished to express his protest over a Turkish TV series which portrays Israeli and Mossad agents in Turkey as baby snatchers.

 

Ayalon refused to shake the ambassador's hand, and muttered in Hebrew: "We just want it to be seen that he is seated below us and that there is only one flag here, and as you can see, we are not smiling."

 

On Tuesday, the Israeli ambassador in Ankara, Gabby Levy, was summoned for a meeting in the Turkish Foreign Ministry. An official telegram expressing the Turk's protest over the incident was also sent to Israel.

 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry stated that: "Levy was notified that Turkey expects an explanation and an apology in the matter. We hope that the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which has assumed an undiplomatic attitude in its statements, will comply with diplomatic courtesy rules."

 

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also spoke out against Ayalon's conduct. "There may be differences of opinion between states, and they may even criticize the policies of other countries, but all countries are obligated to comply with the rules of diplomatic courtesy and manners," Davutoglu said in a press conference in London with his British counterpart.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke his silence on Tuesday and expressed his full support of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in light of the crisis with Turkey.

 

In closed talks with his aids, the prime minister said Turkey's inching towards Iran should worry Israel. According to the prime minister, this is a process that was set in motion before Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

 

The prime minister was aware of the decision to reprimand the Turkish ambassador, but was not aware of the controversial manner in which this would be carried out. He also objected to recalling the Israeli ambassador to Turkey.

 

First Published: 01.13.10, 08:17

 

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