Destruction in Turkey following earthquake
Photo: Reuters
Turkey rejects Israel's offer of post-quake aid
Ankara declines Jerusalem's proposal to assist search and rescue operations following 6.0-magnitude earthquake which hit country's east

Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the defense establishment to put together an aid proposal for Turkey, following the earthquake that hit the country's eastern region Monday, only to be rejected by Ankara.


Barak's office said that Turkey informed Israel that it did not require assistance at this time.


The 6.0-magnitude quake shook the Elazig province in eastern Turkey around 4:30 am (GMT). Some 57 people were killed and over 40 aftershocks have been registered since, the strongest reaching 5.5 on the Richter Scale.


Over a decade ago, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Turkey, killing some 18,000 people. An Israeli search and rescue mission sent at the time was instrumental in saving dozens of lives.


Jerusalem's relations with Ankara have deteriorated greatly over the past year, in wake of both Operation Cast Lead and Turkey's failure to mediate indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria.


The growing tensions have seen Turkey cancel a joint military exercise scheduled to take place between the two air forces.


Diplomatic relations between both countries deteriorated further after Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon reprimanded the Turkish ambassador to Israel following a television show which depicting Mossad agents as baby snatchers.


Following the meeting, Ankara accused Ayalon of violating diplomatic etiquette and humiliating its ambassador. Following a Turkish ultimatum, and only after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres were forced to address the issue, Ayalon apologized for his behavior. 


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