Turkey Issues an Ultimatum To Israel – Ayalon Compelled to Defend his Hostile Behavior Towards Turkey
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, restored a bit of pride to the State of Israel with his harsh treatment of Turkish Ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol during an event that resulted in a diplomatic row between Jerusalem and Ankara. Despite his defense of the state’s pride and integrity, the deputy minister has been called upon to apologize, calls heard from Ankara and Jerusalem, but he has refused, and has made do with a ‘clarification’ of his words and actions.
The “[Foreign Minister Avigdor] Lieberman style diplomacy” as the Israeli media is calling Ayalon’s behavior was quite fitting following repeated scathing criticism from senior Turkish leaders against Israel, calling upon the United Nations Security Council to act against the Jewish State, exhibiting its unforgiving attitude following Operation Cast Lead.
While Ayalon has refused to apologize, he has offered explanations accompanied by a promise to exhibit an increased measure of diplomacy in the future.
The row stems from the meeting between Ayalon and Celikkol after the deputy foreign minister summoned the ambassador to censure him regarding statements from Turkish leaders. Ayalon refused to shake his hand and had the ambassador seated on a low sofa while he was seated to his side on a high chair, resulting in an embarrassing photo-op.
In a retaliatory move, Turkish officials on Tuesday summoned Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Gabi Levy, protesting the incident and embarrassment to the ambassador to Israel.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also took advantage of the opportunity, stating that countries may differ but diplomatic norms must be maintained. It would appear Turkish leaders feel that labeling Israel and IDF soldiers as guilty of “war crimes” and “baby killers” and other such terms of endearment are within the realm of diplomatic norms. The Turks also feel airing television programs depicting IDF soldiers as the murderers of babies and children is also in the realm of acceptable diplomatic norms for a friendly nation.
To his credit, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has openly reaffirmed his support for Foreign Minister Lieberman, who is coming under fire by opponents of his hard-line policies, breaking from traditional Israeli policy of being apologetic.
Yediot Achronot quotes the prime minister as telling close associates that he is extremely concerned with Turkey’s slow but steady shift towards Iranian extremism, with the prime minister pointing out this process began before Cast Lead and is not a result of the counter-terrorism military offensive.
Despite his support, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office stated that while Mr. Netanyahu was aware of the decision to reprimand the Turkish ambassador, he was not informed that it would be carried out in such a controversial manner. He also objected to recalling Ambassador Levy from Turkey at this time.
AS WE POST THIS STORY – TURKEY ISSUES AN ULTIMATUM
In what has rapidly escalated to a major political row, Turkish President Abdullah Gul has issued an ultimatum, announcing he is demanding a formal apology from Israel by day’s end or he will recommend recalling Turkey’s ambassador to Israel back to Ankara.
While Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon released a ‘clarification’, refusing to apologize, Turkey is unwilling to settle for this and has decided to push the incident to the diplomatic limit.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman indicated he is not seeking any conflict with Turkey, but he will not tolerate anti-Semitism.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)