Foreign Ministry reprimands consul in Istanbul

Foreign Ministry says the Israeli consul in Istanbul did not reflect the government's view in discussing Turkey-Israel reconciliation.

Ben Ariel ,

Turkish flag
Turkish flag
Thinkstock

The Foreign Ministry rebuked the Israeli consul in Istanbul, Shai Cohen, following the interview he gave to the Reuters news agency about the reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey, Kol Yisrael radio reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Cohen's comments in the interview were deemed to have strayed from the state's official position regarding the reconciliation process with Turkey.

The Vice President of the Europe Division at the Foreign Ministry, Aviv Shiron, reportedly reprimanded Cohen after he said in the interview that normalization between Israel and Turkey must wait until the next Turkish government stabilizes, and that it will take another round or two of talks in order to conclude a deal.

In response to the comments, an Israeli official told Kol Yisrael that the consul is not involved in the talks with Turkey and that his comments did not reflect the view of the Foreign Ministry on the issue.

Israel and Turkey have been holding talks in an attempt to renew ties that were cut after the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

That incident involved a Turkish flotilla trying to breach the naval blockade. The main ship, later found not to be carrying humanitarian goods despite its claims, refused orders to turn around and forced IDF soldiers to board it where they were attacked and wounded by Islamists armed with knives and metal bars. The soldiers were forced to open fire to defend themselves, killing ten.

Under pressure from President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkey over the incident, and last December Israel reportedly agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the Islamists.

Talks have stalled, however, over Gaza - and after Turkey reportedly demanded Israel lift its import and export restrictions on the Hamas terror stronghold.

Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza, which is legal according to international law and is meant to prevent the influx of weapons to local terrorist organizations, has long been a point of contention in the talks. Another key point has been Turkey's unwillingness to act against the Hamas terror headquarters in Istanbul, which continues to function and plan terror attacks inside Israel.

Senior sources in the Israeli security establishment last month accused Ankara of playing a "double game," and "using" Israel so as to pressure Russia into being less belligerent as the two countries are in the midst of a tense standoff.




top