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Turkish FM: Israel 'kneels down' to us
By JPOST.COM STAFF
12/16/2011
Davutoglu says Turkish foreign policy has pushed Israel to 'kneel down,' insists "zero problems with neighbors" policy works.
 
Turkey's Middle East foreign policy has pushed an "isolated" Israel to "kneel down" before the Turkish Republic, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday according to Turkish daily Zaman.

According to the Turkish report, Davutoglu was responding to claims by the opposition in that country that Ankara has shifted its policy towards the East, despite its dependency on Western countries.

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Davutoglu struck back, saying that the country acts independently in the face of regional upheavals and dictatorships.

He said it was Turkish foreign policy which forces Israel to "kneel down" before Turkey.

"We have always sided with people who demand democracy," Davutoglu said, adding that Ankara does not support oppressive regimes.

Tensions between Turkey and Israel hit a low when Israel refused to apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish activists when IDF soldiers intercepted a ship bound to break the naval blockade on Gaza.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sought to portray Turkey as a model for emerging Arab democracies, and often used anti-Israel rhetoric in his campaign of Middle Eastern countries.

The Turkish foreign minister told the Turkish parliament Thursday that Ankara was determined to press ahead with a "zero problems with neighbors" policy, according to the report.

That policy refers to open economic and cultural exchange with countries neighboring Turkey. For example, Ankara abolished necessary visas for Syrians boosting economic activity between the countries, and a steady flow of civilians across their shared borders.

Diplomatic relations with Damascus have since collapsed since Turkey has called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to go in light of a bloody nine-month government crackdown on anti-regime protests, throwing support behind Syrian opposition groups.
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