Turkey summons Israeli ambassador
Envoy to Ankara Gabby Levy summoned over reprimand meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon and Turkish ambassador to Israel. Turkish FM says government discussing incident, to publish response shortly. Meanwhile, industry, trade, labor minister called Ayalon's behavior 'undignified'
Israeli ambassador in Ankara, Gabby Levy, was summoned for a meeting in the Turkish Foreign Ministry following Monday's humiliating reprimand meeting between Deputy Foreign Ministry Daniel Ayalon and the Turkish ambassador to Israel.
A senior element in the Turkish Foreign Ministry told the wide-circulating Hurriyet newspaper that Ankara does not intend on treating the Israeli ambassador the same way in which Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon treated the Turkish envoy.
He noted that the meeting will not include a public reprimand, will not be attended by journalists and cameramen will not be allowed in the room. "Turkey is a serious country and will not behave in the same rude manner towards Ambassador Levy or any other country."
A different ministry element joked that in any case Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu is taller than Levy and therefore would not require a higher seat. "When they face eachother Sinirlioglu is looking down on him," he noted.
Turkish media reported on Tuesday that the Turkish foreign minister is to meet with Levy in the Foreign Ministry in Ankara. The Turkish government has discussed the public Israeli move.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu commented on the incident on Tuesday, saying, "The government's response will be published in a number of hours, or in the evening at the latest. We must first examine who made the comments, and who was first to behave in such a manner.
"We do not plan to act without properly examining the entire chain of events during the meeting in question," Davutoglu said in an interview to Turkish news website hurriyet.
The minister added, "The matter is being discussed extensively in talks between the Defense Minister and the Israeli Defense Minister, ahead of (Israeli Defense Minister Ehud) Barak's scheduled visit to Turkey."
The site further stated that Sinirlioglu and former Turkish ambassador to Israel stressed to Levy that his country views the incident as "disrespectful" and that "everyone should know their place."
Ayalon's behavior undignified
Earlier Tuesday, Industry, Trade, and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Ynet: "The manner in which Ayalon behaved with the ambassador is unnecessary."
According to Ben-Eliezer, "Doing everything in front of the cameras is not appropriate or dignified."
Ben-Eliezer is currently in India, but closely followed the reports and pictures coming out of Israel.
"The Turkish ambassador's dignity should have been maintained. We have no interest in adding Turkey to the hostile countries. However, there does need to be criticism, and it is fitting to criticize the statements made by the Turkish prime minister. There is no doubt that there is a problem with him, but this must be done with respect," he said.
The industry, trade, and labor minister has tried in the past to bridge the schisms growing between Israel and Turkey. He said, "I see the deputy foreign minister's conduct towards the ambassador as problematic. Even if there is justification for the pain felt in light of the declaration made by the Turkish prime minister or because of the TV show, the way in which he behaved with the ambassador is unnecessary."
According to him, "We have enough troubles with the Arabs. Today, we don't need to pit the entire Muslim world against us. We must remember that this is a country of 72 million people under Muslim leadership."
Ayalon, on his part, published in his personal Twitter account on Tuesday a response to the storm that followed Monday's meeting. "I don't think I went too far, and I do not regret it," the deputy foreign minister said. "Others will respect us, only if we stand up for our dignity," he added.
Roni Sofer contributed to this report