ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned Israel’s ambassador, Gabby Levy, Saturday for urgent consultations, demanding an explanation over commen’s made by a high ranking Israeli General in which he accused Turkey of oppressing its Kurdish minority and massacring Armenia’s during World War I, Haaretz reported Monday.
Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, the recently appointed head of Israel’s ground forces, made his commen’s last Tuesday at a military base in Israel. Mizrahi, who previously served as a military attache to the United States, also accused Turkey of occupying Cyprus.
Mizrahi said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan should have "looked in the mirror" before slamming President Shimon Peres last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. During the forum, Erdogan became enraged over being cut off by a panel moderator after listening to Peres defend Operation Cast Lead. Peres’ defense was prompted by harsh criticism of Israel by Erdogan, who said to Peres: "You are killing people."
Turkey’s foreign ministry issued a statement calling Mizrahi’s remarks “baseless” and saying they contained “unacceptable allegations and ravings” and that they were “directed against our prime minister.”
After the meeting, Israel’s military issued a statement saying the remarks that Israeli Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi had made on Tuesday did not reflect Israel’s official view.
The Turkish military warned Sunday that relations between Jerusalem and Ankara are in a state that "could compromise the national interests of both Israel and Turkey."
An official in Turkey’s Justice and Development Party told Haaretz that "the statemen’s of an Israeli general against Turkey and its prime minister are an unacceptable insult, and we hope that Israel’s government will publicly distance itself from these remarks."
Mizrahi’s remarks made front-page news in Turkey and were given prominence in Turkish-language news sites, which described them as "unusual."
The Turkish prime minister opted for some unusual statemen’s himself Sunday, when he was pessimistic about the results of the Israeli election.
"Unfortunately we have seen that the [Israeli] people have voted for these [rightist] parties, and that makes me a bit sad," Erdogan told Reuters and two Turkish newspapers in an interview. "Unfortunately the election has painted a very dark picture."
The rare statement follows the diplomatic row due to Israel’s three-week offensive in Gaza.