Davutoğlu slams reports on Turkey’s new security strategy

November 03, 2010, Wednesday/ 16:54:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Tuesday slammed media reports that a key document outlining Turkey's security priorities now includes a reference to Israel as a strategic threat, calling the reports as “provocative” and lacking good intentions.

Davutoğlu, speaking to reporters in Beijing, did not explicitly deny that Israel was viewed as a threat in the National Security Policy Document (MGSB), which has recently undergone a revision to reflect the government's policy of zero problems with its neighbors. Davutoğlu said instead the document was classified and press reports on the matter did not cite any sources. “I am not commenting on the content of the MGSB.

But one should not be misled to believe their reliability if such stories appear about classified content without quoting the source,” he said. “The claims that appeared in the Israeli media have no practical basis. They are another example of provocative reporting, which we have been recently witnessing in the Israeli media quite frequently.”

The Israeli media reported at the weekend that the new MGSB, endorsed at a meeting of the National Security Council (MGK) last week, refers to Israel as a strategic threat. Reacting to the reports, Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov urged the Israelis on Sunday to boycott Turkey as a tourism destination as a matter of national honor.

Sources close to the MGK meeting told Today's Zaman last week that the MGSB, commonly known as the “Red Book,” referred, for the first time, to Israel's actions in the Middle East as a threat to Turkey. In the section on relations with neighbors and external threats, the document draws attention to instability in the region caused by Israel and the possibility that Israel's actions may lead to countries in the region becoming engaged in an arms race, said the sources.

Relations with Israel, a former regional ally, took a nosedive after Israeli commandos killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American during a May 31 raid on an aid flotilla attempting to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Turkey is demanding an apology and compensation for the families of victims, while Israel is defending the actions of its commandos as self-defense and is refusing to apologize. The same sources also told Today's Zaman that Syria, Bulgaria, Georgia and Armenia are no longer considered among Turkey's list of external threats.

In Washington, State Department Spokesman Philip J. Crowley said the US was unaware of a new Turkish decision on categorizing Israel as a threat while removing countries like Iran and Syria from the list of enemies. “I'm not familiar with whatever list you're talking about. I mean, obviously we are very aware that there are tensions between two very close friends of the United States -- Turkey and Israel. Their cooperation in the past has been very valuable to both countries, to the United States, and to the region. And we certainly hope that the two countries can find a way to resume that cooperation,” he said.

Haaretz: Say sorry for flotilla raid

The reports, meanwhile, prompted leading Israeli daily, Haaretz, to title its Tuesday editorial as “Turkey is not Israel's enemy.”

“It will not be disastrous if Israel expresses sorrow for the deaths of Turkish civilians, even if it does not offer an official apology and if it agrees to offer symbolic compensation to the families of the dead. The damage to the country that is being caused by clinging to matters of prestige is much more serious,” Haaretz said.

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