We Will Not Be Turkey's Punching Bag

(Jerusalem Post) Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman - The current crisis with Turkey began in January 2009 when Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan verbally attacked and humiliated Israeli President Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos, as part of a carefully thought-out strategy. Israel has never sought a change in its relationship with Turkey, but Turkey's continued harsh rhetoric makes it very difficult for Israel to accept any preconditions for normalization. The completely unilateral change in relations is not reflective of our actions; rather, it is the result of Turkey's internal politics. The best example of this is Ankara's decision not to vote for sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council. On Dec. 25, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu spoke about Turkey's quick dispatch of planes to help us battle the Carmel Forest fire, and suggested that, had the situation been reversed, Israel would not have reciprocated. Davutoglu must have forgotten our immediate response to the earthquake disaster in 1999 when 250 Israeli emergency workers were dispatched to Turkey, where they erected a field hospital and rescued many from the rubble. If the Turkish government is truly honest about seeking to normalize relations with Israel, it needs to stop looking for excuses and attaching preconditions. Israel should not be used as an issue in the upcoming Turkish national elections in June.

2011-01-06 10:47:15

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