Turkey trying to keep tensions high

Wednesday, June 09, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff  

In what Israeli officials saw as an effort to keep diplomatic tensions high, Turkey on Tuesday filed an official complaint over a rally attended by thousands of Israelis outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv following the Gaza flotilla raid.

The demonstration was held to protest Turkey's leading role in condemning Israel for halting the flotilla and spreading misinformation about what lead to the deaths of nine of the flotilla's passengers.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned Israeli Ambassador Gabby Levi and labeled the Tel Aviv rally an "incomprehensible and unacceptable provocation."

Levy reminded his hosts that at the same time as the Tel Aviv rally, tens of thousands of Turks were demonstrating outside the Israeli Embassy in Ankara and outside his family's home. The Turkish mobs called for the demise of Israel and for the nation's Jews to "drown in a sea of blood." Israeli Embassy staff and their families were warned to not appear in public.

No such public threats were made at the Tel Aviv rally, and the Turkish staff there was not required to remain in hiding.

Levy also reminded the Turks that in democratic nations like Israel and Turkey, citizens are permitted to hold licensed demonstrations, even if those they are demonstrating against don't like it.

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