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Turkey Ramps Up Diplomatic Fight, But Israel-Turkey Economic Ties Continue to Flourish

(TPS) The Turkish foreign ministry expelled Israel’s Consul General in Istanbul, Yosef Levi Sfari, and then subjected departing ambassador Eitan Na’eh to a humiliating security check in front of media cameras at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport before he boarded a flight to Israel Wednesday, as relations between the two countries continued to plummet on the heels of Monday’s riots on the Gaza-Israel border that left 61 Palestinians dead and more than 1,000 wounded.

In response to the incident in Istanbul, the foreign ministry in Jerusalem summoned Turkish embassy charge d’affaires Umut Deniz for a diplomatic reprimand, notifying journalists in advance of Deniz’s arrival.

Hay Eytan Cohen Yanorocak, an expert in contemporary Turkish politics and modern Turkish history at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University Turkey, told TPS that Israel’s interests at the moment lie in ignoring Erdoğan’s bombastic anti-Israel rhetoric until Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for June 24. He cautioned not to allow ties between the two countries to completely disintegrate.

“You have got to remember that Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Israel in 1948, and the first Moslem country. Ankara does not consider Israel an ‘enemy.’ The wise move for Israel at the moment would be to lay low and let this crisis pass,” Yanoracak said.

Economic ties between the countries have grown consistently despite Erdoğan’s bluster. Last December, Hatice Karahan, Erdoğan‘s top economic adviser, told Germany’s Deutsche Welle broadcaster that economic relations between Ankara and Jerusalem represented a “win-win situation” for both countries.

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