Two years after the twin city partnership between Tel Aviv and Gaza City was suspended after Hamas' takeover in the Gaza Strip and increased rocket firings into Israel, the Tel Aviv municipality will discuss freezing its international partnership with the Turkish city of Izmir, Ynet learned.
City councilman and head of the Likud's Tel Aviv branch, Arnon Giladi initiated the move and wrote a letter Wednesday on the matter to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai demanding that he freeze Tel Aviv's special relationship with the Turkish port city.
Giladi was also the responsible for initiating the Gaza City partnership break at the start of 2008. In accordance with his demand, the matter will be discussed at a meeting of the city's directorate, which is the operative decision-making body in the municipality.
"After the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip and on the backdrop of terrorist activities and Qassam firings, I led a process that was adopted by the city council in which it was decided to freeze the twin city alliance until a substantive change occurs in the relations of the regime in Gaza towards Israel," wrote Giladi to Huldai. "In light of the crisis in relations with Turkey, I suggest that similar action be taken with Izmir."
The twin city alliance with Izmir was signed in 1998. Ever since, just as in the rest of Tel Aviv's alliances around the world, ties were made between the two that includes exchange programs and culture cooperation.
In a conversation with Ynet, Giladi added, "We must make a proportionate and prudent step that will send a message that the comportment of the Turkish government is unacceptable to Israel. I hope that the Turkish government will return to its senses in the future."
A spokesman of the Tel Aviv municipality responded to Giladi's initiative: "We see no reason to worsen the already tense relations. The councilman's request was received. When the mayor returns to Israel next week, we will be able to respond to it."