23 July 2012 /TODAY’S ZAMAN
No envoys from Syria and Israel have been invited to an annual iftar (fast-breaking) dinner Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was scheduled to host on Monday night after Turkey suspended all diplomatic ties with its two once close allies.
The two countries do not currently have ambassadors in Turkey as Ankara has downgraded its relations with both of them. In September 2011, Ankara downgraded ties and vowed to boost naval patrols in the Mediterranean after Israel refused to apologize for killing nine Turks aboard a ship that tried to breach its Gaza blockade in 2010. Ankara wants an official apology from Israel for the raid and has called for an end to the Gaza blockade, but both demands have thus far been rejected by the Israeli government. With the increased tensions, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended all military agreements it had with the country. Turkey also withdrew its ambassador to Syria on March 26 in protest of the Syrian regime’s failure to respond to international calls to end its brutal crackdown on opponents. Syria is only represented by its consul general in Turkey. Neither the second secretary of the Israeli Embassy nor the Syrian consul general in İstanbul were invited to the iftar in Ankara.