Turkey-Is­rael ties take an­other hit


TEN­SION BE­TWEEN Is­rael and Turkey has risen fur­ther af­ter a state-owned Turk­ish tele­vi­sion chan­nel broad­cast a drama de­pict­ing Is­raeli sol­diers as mur­der­ers and Is­raeli tourists vowed to boy­cott the coun­try.

Last week, Is­rael re­acted fu­ri­ously af­ter Turkey ex­cluded Is­rael from a joint air force drill with the US and Nato.

Now, a new se­ries broad­cast on the TRT chan­nel, Sep­a­ra­tion, in­cluded scenes of Is­raeli sol­diers gun­ning down Pales­tinian civil­ians, in­clud­ing chil­dren, dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Cast Lead.

The Is­raeli am­bas­sador in Ankara, Gabby Levy, protested strongly to the Turk­ish­for­eign­min­istry,whilea­spokesper­son for the Jewish com­mu­nity coun­cil in Is­tan­bul ex­pressed con­cern that it would fuel lo­cal an­tisemitism.

For­eign Min­is­ter Ahmet Davu­to­glu said the se­ries was pro­duced by a pri­vate com­pany and that the gov­ern­ment had no au­thor­ity to stop it be­ing shown. How­ever, TRT said this week that it would delete anti-Is­raeli scenes in up­com­ing episodes and fo­cus on a sto­ry­line about a love af­fair in Gaza.

Mean­while, a num­ber of ma­jor Is­raeli trade unions have de­cided that they will not be send­ing their mem­bers for hol­i­days in Turkey this year. Al­though Is­raelis only make up two or three per­cent of Turkey’s tourists, sev­eral re­sorts rely on them al­most wholly.

Turk­ish PM Ra­cep Tayyep Er­do­gan con­tin­ued to fan the flames, call­ing on Is­rael on Mon­day to open up the cross­ings to the Gaza Strip and say­ing that it seemed that Is­rael was com­mit­ting crimes against hu­man­ity in Gaza.

But in what was seen as an at­tempt to defuse the ten­sion, Turkey an­nounced it would be send­ing a new am­bas­sador to Is­rael in a few weeks and deputy Prime Min­is­ter Bu­lent Arinc said that “re­la­tions be­tween Is­rael and Turkey have al­ways been strong and we are cer­tain that they will re­main strong”.

The Is­rael Wa­ter Au­thor­ity also con­firmed that it had be­gun talks with Turk­ish com­pa­nies on the pos­si­bil­ity of im­port­ing wa­ter from Turkey.

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