Liberman: Let's stop deluding ourselves about Israel-Turkey relations

Yisrael Beytenu says Turkey doesn't intend to improve ties and that apology for Mavi Marmara harmed Israel's regional standing.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 19, 2013 20:40
2 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman

Avigdor Liberman 370. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir)

Turkey has no intention of improving relations with Israel, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman said on Saturday.

“My opposition to apologizing to Turkey is not new, and I expressed it clearly before and after it happened,” Liberman wrote on his Facebook page, referring to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s March 22 apology for the Israeli takeover of Gaza protest ship Mavi Marmara in 2010.

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“I reasoned and explained that it will not improve relations between the countries but will only harm Israel’s standing in the region and play into the hands of extremists in the Middle East, with Turkey under Islamist extremist [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan among them,” Liberman continued.

“I am therefore not surprised by Turkey’s accusation that Israel is behind the report in The Washington Post about ‘revealing spies to Iran,’ and I don’t even know if there was such a spy ring.”

The Yisrael Beytenu leader’s comments came shortly after Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that Turkey’s intelligence agencies believe that a report by The Washington Post foreign affairs analyst David Ignatius, accusing Ankara of giving Iran information about Mossad spies, was part of an Israeli campaign to discredit Turkish National Intelligence Organization head Hakan Fidan.

According to Liberman, this accusation is baseless and provides more evidence that Erdogan’s Turkey is not interested in improving relations with Israel.

As examples of earlier evidence to that effect, Liberman referred to Turkey’s blaming of Israel for protests in Ankara earlier this year in order to avoid paying damages to participants in the Mavi Marmara incident, as well as Erdogan’s claim that he has documents proving that Israel is behind the regime change in Egypt.

“I hope we will all stop deluding ourselves and understand the situation in which we live, and the difference between what we want and what exists,” Liberman wrote.

A Turkish intelligence source told Hurriyet that Turkey sees “this media campaign as an attack and there might be an Israeli effort behind it. Especially after the Washington Post story on October 17 and the follow-ups with Jerusalem bylines.”

Fidan has been suspected by Israel and the US of maintaining friendly ties with Tehran.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal ran an article about Fidan, who reportedly has been the subject of American dissatisfaction over his purported role in allowing arms to flow to jihadist rebels in Syria.

Turkish intelligence sources told Hurriyet that they believe it is Israel’s intent to smear Fidan through the press in order to discredit his boss, the prime minister, in the eyes of Washington.


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