Gabby Levy. Set on retiring
Ambassador's residence in Ankara
Photo: AP

Israel fears Turkey will reject next ambassador

Tender to replace Ambassador Gaby Levy withdrawn due to 'political considerations' in backdrop of tensions between Jerusalem, Ankara

Israel's Ambassador to Ankara Gabby Levy is expected to end his four-year term in three months as Israel prepares for the option the embassy will remain vacant in the backdrop of tensions with Turkey.


A tender to replace Levy was issued in October, only to be withdrawan two weeks later. "The tender was pulled due to political considerations," a Foreign Ministry source admitted.


According to diplomatic code, the appointment of a new envoy is subject to the receiving country's approval. State officials fear that Turkey will not approve the appointment of a new ambassador regardless of the individual's identity. This is probably the reason a replacement for Levy has yet to be commissioned.


The Foreign Ministry has spent the last couple of months trying to convince Levy to extend his term, which would theoretically solve the matter, but the ambassador appears set on retiring.


"In any case we won't keep an ambassador against the Turks' will. It doesn’t work this way," one state official said.


Meanwhile, the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv has also been operating without an ambassador since last May's flotilla. If in fact no new Israeli ambassador will be appointed, an Israeli envoy at the embassy will act as Levy's replacement which will effectively cause the downgrade of diplomatic relations.  


The Foreign Ministry is therefore waiting for two developments which may affect bilateral relations: The June 12 elections in Turkey and a UN report on the Gaza-bound flotilla.


The report is slated to be published in May or June. Israel hopes this will be an opportunity to improve relations with Turkey. No comment was received by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's bureau.


Roni Sofer contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 04.05.11, 17:37
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