Barak: Turkey is not our enemy, conflict will pass

Defense minister reiterates regret over deaths of Turkish activists in IDF raid of 'Mavi Marmara.'

By JPOST.COM STAFF
September 8, 2011 09:20
1 minute read.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Ehud Barak 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)

Turkey is not an enemy of Israel and the conflict between the two countries will eventually pass, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with Israel Radio on Thursday morning.

Barak reiterated his regret over the death of the activists aboard the Mavi Marmara, but not on the use of force.

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A decision has not yet been announced if Israel's military attaché Col. Moshe Levy will be expelled from Turkey in the latest step in Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's diplomatic downgrades. Israeli-Turkish  relations have deteriorated since the Mavi Marmara incident.

In response to the recent "price tag" attack at an army base outside the Beit El settlement Wednesday morning, Barak said that these actions need to be handled with an iron fist. During the attack, right-wing extremists infiltrated the army base and damaged 13 vehicles in retribution for the demolition of three homes at the Migron outpost two days earlier.

The government needs to revamp its budget and expand it in order to meet the movement's demands, Barak said of the social protests.  The solutions offered by Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz are the opposite of what the protesters are seeking, he added.

The defense minister also noted that it is still possible to dissuade the Palestinians from seeking statehood at the UN later this month.

Tovah Lazaroff, Yaakov Lappin and Lahav Harkov contributed to the article.


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