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Senators send concerns on Turkey-Israel ties

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A bipartisan group of 10 senators wrote Turkey’s U.S. ambassador expressing concern about the "downward trend of relations between Turkey and Israel this past year."

The letter to Nabi Sensoy, sent after Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan met with President Obama last week in Washington, said that Turkey’s exclusion of Israel from a recent NATO exercise was "both unexpected and disappointing." It also said that Turkey’s longtime strategic cooperation with Israel is an important source of stability in the Middle East.

"It is our hope that any political obstacles between Turkey and Israel can be overcome, and that historic levels of cooperation will resume as quickly as possible," wrote the group of senators, led by Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Other signatories include Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), James Risch (R-Idaho), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Edward Kaufman (D-Del.) and Robert Casey (D-Pa.).

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