Foreign Ministry D-G travels to Turkey for talks

Yossi Gal flies to Ankara to take part in bi-annual Turkish-Israeli strategic dialogue.

turkey flag 88  (photo credit: )
turkey flag 88
(photo credit: )

A day after Defense Minister Ehud Barakreturned from Turkey, Foreign Minister Director-General Yossi Galflew there Monday night to take part in the bi-annual Turkish-Israelistrategic dialogue, a further sign that Israel-Turkish ties have notcollapsed.

Foreign Ministry officials said thatthe dialogue was scheduled well before Deputy Foreign Minister

DannyAyalon's public dressing down of the Turkish ambassador last week.Nevertheless, the officials said, the fact that the meeting was goingon as scheduled was an indication that both sides were interested inrepairing the ties.

The last such meeting took place inJerusalem some six-months ago. These types of meetings deal less withsecurity issues, the officials explained, and more with regionaldevelopments, such as the situation in Iraq, Iran and Europe. Inaddition, Turkey is often keen at these sessions to hear Israel takeon developments inside the EU, where Turkey is still formally acandidate country.

Meanwhile, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on its website Monday thatTurkish Prime Minister Tayip Reccep Erdogan said he was satisfiedwith Barak's characterization during his visit to Ankara of Ayalon'saction as a "mistake," and said that Turkey would notpursue the matter further.

"We consider that Barak'sstatements were satisfactory. We will not bring the issue further,"Erdogan said. "Turkey keeps establishing sound relations withthe east-west and north-south. We want to have reputable relationswith all countries," Anatolia news agency quoted him as saying.

Barak, at a press conference in TurkeySunday with his Turkish counterpart Vecdi Gonul, said Ayalon'sactions were a "mistake," and that "diplomaticrelations should be run according to norms of diplomacy."

He went on to say that his visit toAnkara made him more confident "that even ups and downs can becorrected and we can continue tradition of friendship andcooperation."