Daily Israel Report

From Friend to Enemy? Israel Slams Turkish Incitement on TV

Turkey, which abruptly called off a joint air exercise with Israel this week, is broadcasting a TV series depicting IDF soldiers as child killers.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 10/15/2009, 10:13 AM / Last Update: 10/15/2009, 10:20 AM

Turkey, Israel’s erstwhile ally in the north which abruptly called off a joint air exercise with Israel this week, is broadcasting a TV series depicting IDF soldiers as child killers.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded sharply: “The television series broadcast on Turkish TV constitutes the most serious level of incitement,” he said, “and it is being done with state sponsorship.” Lieberman has issued instructions to summon the Turkish Ambassador to a meeting with Foreign Ministry officials to protest the broadcasting of the series.

The TV shows “bear no connection whatsoever to reality,” a Foreign Ministry  announcement stated, “presenting IDF soldiers as murderers of innocent children. It is not worthy of broadcast even in hostile states - and certainly not in a state that maintains full diplomatic relations with Israel.”

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Scenes on the shows include “Israeli soldiers” cold-bloodedly shooting an Arab girl to death, killing Arab youngsters who throw rocks, kicking and pushing elderly Arabs, and the like.  A brief scene is even shown of a line of Palestinian Authority Arabs standing before an Israeli firing squad.

Broadcasts of the weekly series, entitled “Separation,” began this past Tuesday on the Turkish public television station TRT1.

A checkpoint scene shows an Arab woman being forced to give birth at a checkpoint – and an Israeli soldier then shooting the newborn baby.

The direction of future Turkish-Israeli relations is not clear; until now, Turkey's army has led an approach that is sympathetic to Israel, but of late, the increasingly anti-Israel government appears to be setting the tone. Turkey also announced this week that it would soon hold a joint military exercise with Syria.

Jews in Turkey say the incitement is nothing new. “Israelis are always depicted as the bad guys and the Palestinians are the good guys,” a Turkish Jewish leader told Ynet. “During the Gaza War, they never showed both sides – only the Palestinian side… But we sense no change in how Turkey relates to us both as Jews and as Israelis.”