"I definitely reject these allegations. This is out of the question," Amit Zarouk, spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, told Today's Zaman yesterday, while stressing that Ambassador Gaby Levy has been in charge and in continuing communication between the two countries.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has severely criticized Israel for its deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip and said late on Sunday that Israel was perpetrating "inhumane actions" and that it will be "drowned in a pool of tears from innocent Palestinian women and children."
In an article titled "Turkey chooses sides" (Jan. 5, 2009), a leading Israeli daily, The Jerusalem Post, wrote, "Since the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] began hitting back at Hamas in Operation Cast Lead, both the government and people of Turkey have lined up behind the Islamists."
"The next Israeli government should weigh whether Israel can accept as a mediator a country that speaks, albeit elliptically, of our destruction. Meanwhile, if Turkey persists in its one-sided, anti-Israel rhetoric, the Foreign Ministry might consider recalling our ambassador in Ankara for consultations. Turkey needs to choose between bridging the gap between East and West and flacking for the kind of dead-end Islamist policies championed by Iran, Hizbullah and Hamas," the same article said.
Zarouk, meanwhile, described a meeting between Levy and Ahmet Davutoğlu, Erdoğan's chief foreign policy advisor, that took place on Monday as a "routine meeting," while also noting that the meeting had no connection with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem's visit to Ankara, which took place earlier on Monday. Levy and Davutoğlu "exchanged views concerning the agenda," Zarouk added.
In Tel Aviv, the Israeli government conveyed its reaction to Erdoğan's harsh remarks during a telephone conversation with Turkish Ambassador to Israel Namık Tan, sources said. During the conversation, the Israeli side reiterated its position regarding the ongoing attacks on Gaza, the same sources said.