(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Israel will take part in every important international conference “whether Turkey likes it or not,” the government’s top representative to the Munich Security Conference, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, said on Friday.
Steinitz was reacting to the Turkish foreign minister’s announcement hours earlier that he would skip the proceedings due to Israel’s participation.
“Israel wishes to express its astonishment over the Turkish decision,” Steinitz said.
“As was planned well in advance, I intend on representing Israel with pride before such an important panel,” Steinitz said.
The minister said Israel would spell out the security challenges it faces in the region, particularly the Iranian nuclear threat and that posed by radical Islam.
“Turkey’s boycott is essentially Ankara’s expression of sympathy for radical Islam and terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood,” Steinitz said. “This decision casts a heavy pall over Turkey’s future and its character more than it injures Israel.”
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Friday condemned Turkey’s decision to boycott a security conference in Germany due to the participation of senior Israeli officials, saying it was further proof that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu erred in apologizing to Ankara for the deaths of Turkish passengers of the Gaza flotilla.
In a statement to the press, Liberman said that “the Turkish foreign minister’s decision to skip the Munich Security Conference because of the Israeli presence there proves once again just how big the mistake was to apologize to Turkey.”
“As long as Turkey is being ruled by the current regime [of Recep Tayyip Erdogan], there’s no chance of rehabilitating ties between our two countries since Turkey’s Erdogan is a country that is only interested in attacking Israel,” the foreign minister said.
“Israel must conduct its affairs vis-à-vis Turkey accordingly and stand up for its interests,” he said.