JERUSALEM (JTA) — Turkey’s foreign minister said his country threatened to veto an Israeli initiative in NATO in an effort to hurt Israel in international forums.
Ahmet Davutoglu reportedly told CNN Turk in an interview Sunday that Turkey had threatened to veto Israel’s recent effort to open a NATO office in Brussels as part of the alliance’s outreach to non-member groups through the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952. Israel joined the Mediterranean Dialogue initiative in 1995 with Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia and Egypt; Jordan and Algeria were added later.
Davutoglu added that the veto threat could change according to political circumstances, according to reports.
Israel withdrew the initiative after the threat, according to the Turkish news service Today’s Zaman. .
The threat comes amid increased tension between Israel and Turkey following Israel’s refusal to apologize for the deaths last year of nine Turkish nationals after Israeli naval commandos stormed a flotilla ship attempting to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Israel has expressed "regret" for the incident.
Turkish officials have vowed to attack Israel in as many international forums as possible, and Turkey has downgraded diplomatic relations with Israel and cut defense trade ties.
Meanwhile, Israel will remove its police representative in Turkey after a lack of cooperation from Turkish authorities, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch told Israel Radio Monday.