Israel lacked tact in Turkey spat


To the Editor:

The demeanor, style and content of the Foreign Ministry of Israel’s communication with the Turkish ambassador to Tel Aviv, Dr. Oguz Celikkol, defy all internationally accepted standards of diplomatic courtesy and mutual respect.

States, like individuals, can and often do disagree with each other’s policies, and their interests may clash from time to time. But there are certain protocols, shared understandings and etiquette usually observed by most civilized nations.

This may have to be chalked up to the youth and inexperience of Israel in diplomacy, given its inexplicably aggressive, harsh and isolationist approach to some international matters.

Turkey has lent a helping hand to Jews all throughout history when the latter was in difficult times, including but not limited to the 1492 Spanish Inquisitions and expulsions, 1933-1945 German and Austrian expulsion, and others. Turkish-Jewish friendship is too deep and historical to be destroyed by a few gung-ho diplomats at the Israeli Foreign Ministry. But in the final analysis, even the destruction of a historic friendship is easier than cultivating one, as destruction is always easier than construction.

Ergun Kirlikovali
President-elect, Assembly of Turkish Americans Association
Washington, D.C.

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