Turkey declares Israel ‘central threat’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is seen as "a central threat to Turkey" in a policy paper written by Turkey’s National Security Council.

At the same time, the security council removed Syria, Bulgaria, Georgia and Armenia, as well as Iran, from the list of countries that pose a threat to Turkey, according to Turkish media outlets cited late Saturday by the Israeli media.

"The region’s instability stems from Israeli actions and policy, which could lead to an arms race in the Middle East," the policy paper, known as The Red Book, reportedly said, according to Israel’s Channel 10.

It was the first time that Israel was seen as a threat to Turkey since 1949, according to Channel 10.

Meanwhile, in light of the policy paper, Israel’s tourism minister on Sunday called on Israelis to refrain from traveling to Turkey.  

Turkey must be "boycotted totally as a tourism destination" in order to preserve Israel’s national honor, Stas Mesezhnikov said.

Relations between Israel and Turkey began deteriorating following the monthlong Gaza war in the winter of 2008-09. Relations further deteriorated following Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla on May 31, which led to the deaths of nine Turkish nationals, including one Turkish-American dual citizen.

Turkey has demanded that Israel apologize for its interception of the flotilla and pay compensation to the victims.

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