'Turkey's Gul skips event to avoid Barak'

In series of significant acts, Turkish president reportedly boycotts lunch, dodges photo with Israelis during Vienna conference.

December 10, 2011 18:47
President Abdullah Gul, World Policy Conference

Gul 311 R. (photo credit: Turkey's President Abdullah Gul makes a speech at )

Turkish President Abdullah Gul decided not to attend an event in Vienna hosted Saturday by Austrian President Heinz Fischer upon discovering that Defense Minister Ehud Barak was on the guest list, according to Turkish news agency Anatolia.

Fischer held a luncheon for state leaders and senior ministers that arrived in Vienna to attend the World Policy Conference. According to the report, instead of attending the event, Gul decided to visit a local neighborhood where a Turkish community resides.

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During the security conference, the Anatolia report added, Barak and the Israeli delegation left the conference hall before Gul delivered his speech.

Additionally, the Turkish president chose not to participate in a group photograph due to Israeli presence.

Israel-Turkey diplomatic relations reached a historic low after the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed by Israeli commandos while attempting to break the naval blockade on Gaza. Turkey has since demanded Israel apologize for the deaths but Israel maintains the soldiers were acting in self-defense.

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