Ayalon apologizes for discourteous treatment of Turkish ambassador
JERUSALEM (WJC)–Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon has apologized to Turkey over what Ankara called the “discourteous” way he had treated the Turkish ambassador in Israel at a summons on Monday.
In particular the fact that Ayalon made Ambassador Ahmed Oguz Celikkol sit on a low couch while he sat on a high chair as he reprimanded Celikkol over a Turkish TV program which portrayed Mossad agents as baby-snatchers had caused outrage in Ankara. “My protest against the attacks on Israel in Turkey remains valid,” Ayalon said in a statement on Wednesday. “Nevertheless, it is not my way to disrespect ambassadors’ honor and in the future I will clarify my position in a diplomatically acceptable manner.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Ayalon’s statement as an “apology” and said he was glad that it had been made. Netanyahu’s office stated: “The prime minister feels that the protest issued to the Turkish ambassador was fundamentally correct but it should have been conveyed in the conventional diplomatic mode.”
On Tuesday, Ankara had summoned the Israeli ambassador to Turkey to express its “annoyance” over the incident. “Turkey has helped Jews whenever they needed it throughout history, and the Turkish-Jewish coexistence represents a history of mutual respect and tolerance,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Therefore, we reject the allegations that Turkey has no right to preach morality to Israel,” it said, adding that claims of Turkish anti-Semitism are unfounded.
Meanwhile, it was announced the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will visit Ankara over the weekend. “We give this visit much importance. The ties between the two countries are important and they must be maintained even if there are ups and downs,” an unnamed Israeli official told the AFP news agency.
Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress