Israeli-Turkish tensions heating up


(JTA) — As Israelis and Turks escalate their war of words, the government in Istanbul is reportedly considering reducing its relations with Jerusalem to a minimum.

"We may plan to reduce our relations with Israel to a minimum, but to assume everything involving another country is stopped in an instant, to say we have crossed you out of our address book, is not the custom of our state," said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc in an interview last Friday with NTV, according to a report in Haaretz. Turkey, he said, is "assessing deals with Israel."

Nine Turkish nationals were killed in clashes with Israeli commandos who boarded their ship.

Turkey already has recalled its ambassador to Israel. And its president, Abdullah Gul, said June 2 that Israeli-Turkish ties "will never be as they were before."

"Israel has made one of the biggest mistakes in its history," he said, according to Haaretz.

A prosecutor in Ankara reportedly is gathering evidence for a potental case against Israeli officials.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Israelis demonstrated June 3 outside the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The demonstrators held signs criticizing Turkey for not stopping the Gaza-bound flotilla of ships. Some demonstrators threw rocks at the building and attempted to hang an Israeli flag on the fence.

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