Israel backed down from opening a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) office in Brussels this past spring after Turkey threatened to veto the move, according to a report by Sunday's Zaman. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu disclosed the April threat in a Sunday interview with CNN Turk.
The office would have been part of NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue initiative with Israel and six other non-member countries. Turkish diplomatic sources told the newsapaper that the decision is not permanent and could change according to political circumstances. Turkey has been an outspoken critic of Israel since the Cast Lead counterterror operation in Gaza in 2008 and 2009. Tensions escalated after the death of nine Turkish citizens aboard the Mavi Marmara, after activists attacked Israeli commandos who intercepted the Turkish ship as it tried to break the naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled area. Israel has expressed regret for the incident but refused Turkey's demand for an apology and a lifting of the blockade.