Turkey replaces its ambassador to Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Turkey is replacing its ambassador to Israel, who reportedly requested a transfer after being embarrassed by Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

In February, Israeli media reported that the ambassador, Ahmet Oguz Celikkol, had asked to be transferred to a new posting after a public dressing down by Ayalon.

Celikkol reportedly will be replaced by Cyprus diplomat Kerim Uras, who is an expert on Middle Eastern affairs.

Ayalon apologized for the Jan. 13 meeting, in which Celikkol was made to sit on a lower chair than Ayalon and the table between them displayed only an Israeli flag, not a Turkish one. Ayalon, who did not shake the Turkish envoy’s hand, called him in to complain about an anti-Israel Turkish television drama.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have been strained since Israel’s operation in early 2009 against Hamas in Gaza.

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