‘Tel Aviv might not host Turkish diplomats five years from now’

‘Tel Aviv might not host Turkish diplomats five years from now’

Retired Israeli Ambassador Alon Liel

June 24, 2011, Friday/ 17:43:00/ ALİ H. ASLAN

Retired Israeli Ambassador Alon Liel has cautioned that if the deadlock in the Middle East process prevails, Tel Aviv may no longer host a Turkish Embassy five years from now.

“I cannot imagine [that there will be] an embassy of Turkey in Tel Aviv five years from now,” if there is no dramatic change in the Arab-Israel conflict, Liel, who was Israel’s Charge d’Affaires in Ankara, and the former director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday in Washington.

Liel was speaking at a panel organized within the framework of the second annual conference on Turkey organized by the Middle East Institute’s (MEI) Center for Turkish Studies. The panel was titled as “Change Within and Beyond Borders: Turkey’s Domestic and Foreign Policy Agenda.”

The Palestinian conflict is “key,” in regards to both regional problems and the bilateral relations of Israel and Turkey, Liel said.

The veteran diplomat argued that while the current coalition government in Israel is in office, there is not a possibility of Turkey’s demand for an apology from Israel being fulfilled.

Turkey, once a regional ally of Israel, has scaled back its ties, demanding that Israel apologize and pay damages for the May 31 raid on a humanitarian aid flotilla, which caused an international outcry. Eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish-American were shot dead in the raid when Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara, part of an international aid flotilla trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

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