Livni: Turkey has to choose a side

Peres: Insulting Turkish envoy was Ayalon's mistake.

January 14, 2010 22:22
2 minute read.
Livni: Turkey has to choose a side

Tzipi Livni. (photo credit: AP)


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As the most recent confrontation with Turkey, over Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon humiliating Turkish ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol on Tuesday, began to abate, Kadima and opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that Ankara would have to decide which side to align itself with.

"Every country in the region must decide which side it is on. This goes for Turkey, too," Livni said Thursday. "The choice is not between Israel and the Palestinians or the Jews and the Arab but between Israel, the legitimate Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and Jordan and the world of fundamental Islam."

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Livni was adamant that Valley of the Wolves, the Turkish TV series depicting Mossad agents as kidnappers and baby-killers, could only serve to incite violence. "Erdogan's words are also very worrying," she said.

"If anyone thinks that games of [musical] chairs are the way to defend Israel's interests ... they are making a strategic mistake," Livni concluded.

Earlier Thursday, President Shimon Peres criticized Ayalon, stressing that the incident was the mistake of a single man, and not of the entire country.

On Wednesday, in time with a Turkish-imposed ultimatum, Ayalon sent an apology letter to Celikkol after the deputy minister summoned the Turkish envoy to the Knesset to express outrage over a new Turkish television show depicting Mossad agents as baby-snatchers.

In a break from the diplomatic norm, Ayalon had invited the press for a photo-op, during which he was seen telling the cameramen to film him and his aide sitting on tall chairs, and the Turkish envoy on a lower chair - with the Israeli flag in the middle.

"This is not diplomacy, but rather a mistake by one person. It is good that this man, the deputy foreign minister, fixed his mistake," the president said at an event in Tel Aviv.

"This must not be attributed to the entire country and to all diplomats. We must learn not to make such mistakes," Peres reportedly said.

Earlier Thursday, Kadima Council chairman and former MK Haim Ramon said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government should send a letter of apology to all the Israeli citizens for humiliating Israel in an unnecessary confrontation with Turkey.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Ramon said that the government should have acted intelligently and sensibly and not like a bull in a china shop.

"Netanyahu supported Ayalon," Ramon said, adding that "only the intervention by Peres, who played the role of responsible adult, prevented a major diplomatic crisis with Turkey."

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

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