By JPOST.COM STAFF, AP, HERB KEINONPublished: OCTOBER 16, 2009 11:38Advertisement
Following the recent slump in Jerusalem-Ankara relations caused by last week's cancellation of a joint military drill and Tuesday's airing of an anti-Israeli drama on a government-controlled TV channel, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc downplayed the apparent tensions.
"Relations between Israel and Turkey have always been strong, and we're entirely sure that they will remain strong," Arinc told local reporters on Friday."
Referring to the TV drama Ayrilik - which variously depicted IDF soldiers shooting a fleeing Palestinian boy in the back, killing a sweetly smiling Palestinian girl at point-blank range and lining up Palestinian detainees before an IDF firing squad - Arinc that "there are no political motives to the television drama that annoyed Israel."
Scene 1: 'IDF soldier' shoots a Palestinian childScene 2: 'IDF soldier' shoots a Palestinian girl
Arinc, who is responsible for monitoring the TRT1 state channel that aired the show, said that "if Israel reacted [angrily] to the drama, we'll discuss it with them. It could be that it only partially portrays the reality and that it's a little over the top, but after all, it's just a television series."
He emphasized that he didn't want the program to cause a "diplomatic problem."
When asked whether the script would be changed or the series dropped, Arinc said, "The Turkish government doesn't intervene in a television drama. The [RTUK] radio and television council controls broadcasts."
However, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that improving Jerusalem-Ankara ties depended on the humanitarian situation in Gaza and the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Davutoglu added that Turkey was not "based on censorship" and that the state had no right to comment on the quality or opinions expressed in broadcasts.
"The Foreign Ministry is not an advisory body for TV series," he said a day after Israel rebuked Turkey's acting ambassador, warning the series could incite attacks against Jews visiting Turkey.
"As far as I understand, the series is produced by a private company. TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corp.) is an independent organization after all," Davutoglu was quoted by CNN as saying during a brief appearance before journalists at Ankara airport.
"This is a matter to be evaluated entirely as part of their broadcast policies. Turkey does not have censorship," he added in statements broadcast by the private channel CNN Turk. "The Foreign Ministry is not a consulting institution for TV series."
In an interview with CNN on Friday, the TV show's producer Selcuk Cobanoglu rejected Israeli criticism and instead called on Jerusalem to look at the bloody death toll of Operation Cast Lead.
"They accuse us of provocation. There were 300 children among the civilians killed in January and February," Cobonaoglu told CNN. "Make a collection of the actual footage taken from the news bulletins especially from January and February, and those pictures would be worse than our series. Israel made the whole world watch these more violent images... we just made a snapshot of these images."
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