Deputy FM Issues 'Apology' on Turkish Affair

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon issued a statement on Wednesday, apologizing for not having taken a more diplomatic approach when he called the Turkish ambassador to a meeting the day before.

"My protest against the attacks on Israel in Turkey remains valid. Nevertheless, it is not my way to disrespect [an] ambassador's honor and in the future I will clarify my position in a diplomatically acceptable manner," the statement read.

On Tuesday, Ayalon summoned Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol to explain a program on Turkish TV portraying Shin Bet agents as baby snatchers.

A few months ago, state-sponsored Turkish television aired another program depicting Israel Defense Forces soldiers as ruthless murderers.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday approved Ayalon's official apology.

"The prime minister believers the criticism of Turkey by the Foreign Ministry was justified, but [it] should have been relayed in the usual diplomatic means," Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office.

Ayalon's clarification followed a meeting in Ankara between Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and Israeli envoy Gaby Levy, demanding an "explanation and apology" and calling on Israel to "adhere to the rules of diplomatic courtesy and respect."

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also expressed anger at the Israeli Foreign Ministry's response to a slew of accusations against Israel by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri during a joint press conference in Ankara.

*Originally published January 13, 2010. 

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