Israelis detained at Turkish airport

Monday, September 05, 2011 |  Ryan Jones  

In what appeared to be a petty act of revenge over Israel's refusal to apologize for last year's Gaza flotilla raid, 40 Israeli passengers were detained and questioned at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Monday.

The Israelis said that upon arriving from Tel Aviv on a Turkish Airlines flight Turkish authorities confiscated their passports before leading them away one by one for questioning.

One passenger told Israel's Ynet news portal that the officer questioning him clearly didn't know what he was looking for, as though he had simply been told to detain the Israelis without any clear direction.

"Obviously this was done intentionally, in order to create an unpleasant feeling," the passenger said.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that it was investigating the matter, and had brought it up with the Turkish Foreign Ministry, which insisted that it had given no order to detain Israelis.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have reached "cold war" levels over the past week. Despite a UN commissioned report vindicating Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza, Turkey continues to insist that Israel apologize for the May 2010 raid on a flotilla trying to break that blockade. Nine Turkish nationals were killed in the raid after they attacked the Israeli boarding party.

Last Friday, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara over Israel's refusal to prostrate itself in accordance with Turkish demands.

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