Claims of Turkey-Israel Pact Against Syria 'Groundless'

Turkish Foreign Minister hit back at Bashar al-Assad's claims that Ankara made a pact with Israel against Damascus.

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Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu hit back at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's claims in an interview that Ankara made a pact with Israel against Damascus.

"Such arguments like Turkey is in cooperation with Israel against Syria have no grounds," the Turkish foreign minister said, according to the Anatolia news agency.

"Turkey never speaks to Israel or any other third party about its neighbors," he said. "This is not something that should be taken seriously."

Assad slammed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an interview conducted this week with two Turkish media outlets, accusing Ankara of "contributing directly to the killing of the Syrian people."

In extracts published on Wednesday, Assad said: "Erdogan is working with Israel to destroy Syria... but the Syrian state has not fallen and the Syrian people have resisted.

"We cannot allow idiot, immature leaders to destroy relations (between the Turks and the Arabs)."

Turkey, a one-time Syria ally now vehemently opposed to Assad's regime, has backed the two-year-old revolt against Assad, and hosts large numbers of refugees, as well as the exiled Syrian opposition and military leadership.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently apologized to his Turkish counterpart for the death of nine Turkish terror activists who were killed during the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident.

Israeli naval commandos, seeking to protect Israel’s national security, had boarded the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara flotilla, filled with pro-Arab activists seeking to infiltrate the borders of the Jewish state. The incident became the catalyst for the deterioration of relations between the two countries.