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Did Turkey cross a red line?

JERUSALEM /PRregister.com/ – Officials said on Tuesday that anti-Semitism could be fueled as Turkey’s prime minister was criticizing Israel.  

The Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon summoned Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol to protest a Turkish TV show depicting Israeli agents as cruel, and refused to shake his hand while making him to sit on a low sofa.

Israel was forced to apologize after Turkey threatened to recall the ambassador.

The new report concluded that Turkey viewed the incident as a "severe blow" to its pride — but added that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had gone overboard in his repeated criticism of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians.

"The way the crisis was handled by top Turkish officials, including Erdogan, could indicate that Turkey understands that they have crossed a red line and the outer limits of the Israeli government's patience," added the report.

Excerpts of the report were published in the Haaretz daily and confirmed by an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing a confidential document.

Erdogan, who leads an Islamic-oriented government, has repeatedly condemned last year's Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The report accused Erdogan of using anti-Semitic language in his rhetoric and creating "negative public opinion" toward Israel.

"He does this by repeating motifs in his speeches of describing the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza and blaming Israel of committing war crimes, going as far as using anti-Semitic expressions and incitement," the report said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu rejected the charge. "To criticize Israel is not anti-Semitism," he told independent NTV television. "Criticism of Israel's policies should not be given other meanings." He called on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza.

Israel and Turkey have forged close military and economic ties in recent decades. Turkey has given Israel a rare ally in the Muslim world, while for Ankara the alliance has boosted its standing with the West.

Last modified onSaturday, 20 August 2011 00:09

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