Home > Gaza, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Turkey > Turkey snubs Israeli diplomat during Iftar

Turkey snubs Israeli diplomat during Iftar

ANKARA (WJC)–Israel’s envoy to Turkey has not been invited to an ‘iftar’ dinner hosted by PM Erdogan’s party for representatives of the diplomatic corps in Turkey. Ambassador Gabi Levi did not receive an invitation to Ramadan fast-breaking dinner, to which all senior diplomats in Turkey have been invited for the past four years.

The dinner is hosted annually by the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish media reported over the weekend that the exclusion was meant to express anger over Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla, which led to the death of nine Turkish citizens aboard a Turkish-flagged ship.

During a press conference, Omer Çelik, an AKP member of parliament, said “the reason for not inviting the Israeli ambassador is not on a personal level,” but rather a symbolic act against Israel’s policies. “Anyone who is unjust or inequitable cannot pass the threshold of the AKP headquarters,” he said.

An unnamed official of the Israeli Foreign Ministry called the non-invitation of Levi an “escalation” in bilateral relations between the two countries, but said: “We will act responsibly and will not be dragged into the Turkish dance of swords.”

The incident was the latest sign of deteriorating ties between the two formerly close allies. Relations hit a low point after Israel’s raid on an international flotilla that aimed to break the blockade of Gaza.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama personally warned Erdogan in June that Turkey risks not getting some of the weapons it wants to buy from the United States unless it improves its relationship with Israel, the ‘Financial Times’ reports, quoting an unidentified Obama administration official. This may include US-made drones Turkey wants to combat the Kurdish PKK separatist group, the paper said.

Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

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