WASHINGTON – Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu left an international conference on terror just moments before Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon was set to address its participants.
Other than Davutoğlu and Ayalon, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini also spoke an the conference.
Ayalon's personal history with Turkish official was muddied in 2010, when he summoned Turkish Ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol to the Foreign Ministry to reprimand him over an anti-Israel Turkish TV show and made him sit on a chair lower than his own – an act perceived as a deliberate humiliation of Ankara's diplomat.
Davutoğlu's empty chair (Photo: Shahar Azran)
Nevertheless, it is possible that the Turkish FM would have left regardless of the Israeli speaker's identity, as it is common for Turkish diplomats to leave international venues as Israeli diplomats are about to speak.
Ayalon's address focused on the need for the international to act in unison against Iran's "terror policies." The deputy foreign minister called Iran an "international terror hub" and urged the international community to increase its enforcement of the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic, as well as on Hezbollah and Hamas.
Ayalon also mentioned Israel's contribution and assistance to the UN and various international bodies in the war on terror, noting Israel's anti-terror collaborations in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia and in Latin America.
Commenting on Davutoğlu's departure, ayalon said he was sorry that "not all NATO members see fit to cooperate with Israel (stance) in the session."
Earlier Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the Turkish FM and urged him to "leave the door ajar" for the normalization of Israel-Turkey relations, which are at an all time low.
Another senior American source said that Clinton reminded Davutoğlu that the "Middle East is at a time when it does not need any more regional tensions."
Ronen Medzini contributed to this report
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