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Turkish minister says relations with Israel are ‘strong’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Turkey’s relationship with Israel remains strong, the Turkish deputy prime minister said.

Relations "have always been strong and we have total belief that these relations will always be strong," Bulent Arinc told reporters last Friday, according to a Reuters report.

Arinc, whose portfolio includes state-run TV, also said he will not censor a program that depicts Israeli soldiers deliberately killing Palestinian children during last winter’s Gaza War. Israel’s Foreign Ministry summoned Turkey’s ambassador over the broadcast.

Arinc noted that the series was fiction.

"There is certainly a measure of truth in it," he said. "There may be some exaggeration, but ultimately this is a television series."

Israel-Turkey relations have grown tense since the Gaza War, with Turkey taking the lead in some international forums in demanding that Israel be held accountable for alleged war crimes.

Earlier this week, Turkey kept Israel from joining a NATO alliance exercise. Reportedly, however, it was in retaliation for Israel’s failure to deliver unmanned aerial vehicles on time and not related to diplomatic tensions.

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