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MIDEAST > Israel distances itself from diplomatic confrontation with Turkey

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Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor. Hürriyet photo

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor. Hürriyet photo

Sevil Erkuş Sevil Erkuş sevil.kucukkosum@hdn.com.tr

An Israeli spokesperson stressed that the Washington Post story claiming that there were intense “spy wars” between Turkey and Israel was not serving any Israeli purpose, denying that David Ignatius’ source was Israeli officials. 

“Ignatius does not have sources in Israel to [be able to] publish such a story. From an observer’s perspective, the [information was not leaked] from here,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor, at a Tuesday press briefing to visiting Turkish journalists.  Palmor neither denied nor confirmed the report that Turkish intelligence had disclosed to Iranian intelligence the identities of up to 10 Iranians who had been meeting in Turkey with their Mossad case officers. “I do not know what operation Mossad is carrying out,” he said, adding, “[There has not been] any denial from Turkey regarding the [classified document].”  

“It does not serve any Israeli purpose,” Palmor said, emphasizing that the objective could make things more difficult between Turkey and Israel, whose relations have been frozen since the 2010 Mavi Marmara crisis.  

“It mainly sends the message that rapprochement is not possible or not in the interest of Turkey and Israel. This would be the intention,” the spokesperson said.

When asked whether Israel was uncomfortable with Turkish spy chief Hakan Fidan, Palmor only said: “This is foreign ministry. We don't deal with intelligence. We don't have an opinion on Turkish intelligence.”

With regard to the Mavi Marmara raid compensation talks, Palmor said the process was going very slowly, adding that the Turkish side was “not interested in advancing quickly.”

“It was apparent in the negotiations that the Turkish side doesn’t seem to be interested in reaching a conclusion. After hearing statements that the purpose is not to reach a final bottom line, but to send a message through this, Turkey has managed to extract some admission of guilt from Israel,” he said.

October/22/2013

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