ANKARA, Turkey -- President Abdullah Gul said on Sunday (October 18th) that Ankara will continue to criticise Israel if it makes "mistakes". "Turkey is one of the few countries in the world that has good relations both with Israel and with the Arab world," Gul said in an interview with the state broadcaster TRT. "However, this does not mean that Turkey will not raise its voice against the mistakes, if such mistakes are made. It should not be thought that Turkey will keep quiet," Gul said.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained since January, when Ankara criticised Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip. Tensions grew last week, when Turkey excluded Israel from routine military exercises it was hosting. Shortly after that, Israel criticised Turkey for a series broadcast on state television, which depicted Israeli soldiers as brutal killers of children.
The tit-for-tat continues this week. Israel's Ilan coffee shop chain says it has stopped offering Turkish coffee until relations between the two countries improve. National air carrier ElAl, meanwhile, announced on Sunday that its employee association and those of several other big Israeli companies have decided to stop subsidising staff vacations to Turkey during Passover. (AFP, Press TV, Ha'aretz - 18/10/09)