Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu refused to shake hands with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak at the Munich Security Conference held in early February, Today's Zaman has learned.Classy, right?
Davutoğlu did not shake hands with Barak, thus rejecting an attempt by US and German officials to break the ice between Turkey and Israel during a dinner hosted by Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer on the sidelines of the conference last month.
According to the seating plan prepared by US and German officials, Davutoğlu sat next to Seehofer and US Vice President Joe Biden, while Barak sat opposite the Turkish minister. When officials sitting in Davutoğlu's row started to shake hands with the figures sitting opposite them, the Turkish minister immediately stood up and greeted the Macedonian and Croatian presidents. Seeing Davutoğlu not responding to his attempt to shake his hand, Barak said, “As the distance between the two sides of the table is wide, we could not reach each other's hand.” Davutoğlu replied: “No, the problem is not the size of the table. There will always be a distance between us unless you meet our demands.”
Davutoğlu was referring to Turkey's demand for an official apology from Israel for a deadly attack on the Mavi Marmara bound for Gaza in May 2010.
Last month, Israel agreed to send promised electronic systems to Turkey, which will integrate those systems into its Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) military aircraft purchased from the US. In addition, Israel also offered to build an undersea gas pipeline from Israeli-owned offshore gas rigs to Turkey's south coast for Turkish business conglomerate the Zorlu Group.And:
A senior member of the Turkish government, former Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, recently visited Israel for stem cell treatment. Unakitan, who is suffering from chronic renal failure, served seven years in Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government from 2002-2009.It seems that instead of sending advanced AWACS equipment and offering to help Turkey in other ways, Israel should simply say that unfortunately the distance between the two states has become insurmountable, and it might decide to use its goodwill towards friendly Greeks and Kurds instead.
According to Turkish media, the 67-year-old Turkish politician was treated at Tel Aviv’s International Center for Cell Therapy & Cancer Immunotherapy (CTCI) for almost two and a half months.
Let's recall how friendly a reception the IDF received when it boarded the Mavi Marmara:
(h/t Silke, Zvi)