Israel sorry for humiliating Turkish envoy, but doesn't regret it

Thursday, January 14, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Wednesday issued a letter of apology for humiliating the Turkish ambassador to Israel, but later defended his actions and insisted they would benefit the Jewish state.

On Monday, Ayalon had summoned the Turkish envoy to the Knesset to reprimand him over a new Turkish television series that depicted Israeli Mossad agents as baby-snatchers. To drive home his point, Ayalon and his aide sat in taller chairs while the Turkish ambassador sat on a lower couch, and then invited the press to film the meeting.

Turkey issued an ultimatum that Ayalon either apologize by Wednesday or the ambassador would be recalled to Ankara.

In his letter, Ayalon apologized for "the way Israel's protest was presented" and promised that future disputes would be "solved in a respectful and mutual manner between the two governments."

A day later, Ayalon's office issued a statement to the Israeli press insisted that "Israel will benefit from the manner in which MK Ayalon handled the crisis. The result is that today Turkey will be more careful with its statements."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while he supported the essence of Ayalon's protest, he had been unhappy with its implementation and was satisfied with Ayalon's apology.

Meanwhile, major Turkish production company Pana Films is working on a new anti-Israel movie that Turkish media said is certain to anger Israel even further.

Members of the film's production crew told Turkish newspapers that the provocative imagery in the new film will go far beyond the way Israel was portrayed in last week's television series, and that it will "reveal the true face of Israel, and in accordance, the relations between it and Turkey will deteriorate even further."

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