Israel protests ‘inciting’ new Turkish drama

October 15th, 2009 - 5:19 am ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Oct 15 (DPA) Israel said Wednesday it would formally complain to Ankara about an “inciting” and “distorted” new Turkish television drama about a fictional Palestinian family in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said it would summon the Turkish ambassador in Tel Aviv to its offices in Jerusalem for an explanation.

The new series aired for the first time this week on Turkish national television.

Israel’s main evening news broadcasts Wednesday showed excerpts of the series, which depict Israeli soldiers as sadists who kill children with deliberate premeditation.

One scene shows a soldier approaching a Palestinian girl as she stands with her back against a wall in an alley of what looks like a West Bank city. The actor playing the soldier slowly raises his gun, looks intently at the innocently smiling girl, and then shoots her in the chest from just metres away.

Another scene shows Israeli soldiers killing a baby at a roadblock. Yet another shows a bullet in slow motion chasing a small boy fleeing as soldiers disperse a demonstration with live ammunition. The bullet then hits him in the back, and he falls to the ground.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that “broadcasting this series is incitement of the most severe kind, and it is done under government sponsorship,” according to the foreign ministry statement.

“Such a drama series, which doesn’t even have the slightest link to reality and which presents Israeli soldiers as murderers of innocent children, isn’t worthy of being broadcast even by enemy states and certainly not in a state which has full diplomatic relations with Israel,” he said.

The latest incident comes amid a crisis in previously friendly Israel-Turkey relations.

Ankara earlier this month decided to bar Israel from participating in a 12-day air force exercise that began Monday in the city of Konya, in Turkey’s central Anatolia region. It reportedly told Israel it was worried the fighter jets it would send to participate in the exercise were used in last winter’s Gaza war.

Israeli government officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have expressed concern that the cancellation could be a sign that Israel’s strategic ties with Turkey were in jeopardy.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has sharply and publicly criticised Israel for its Gaza offensive, which killed some 1,400 Palestinians, many of them civilians who lived or walked near militant targets hit in massive Israeli bombardments and shelling of the densely populated strip. In January, Erdogan walked out on Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Israel considers Turkey one of its most important Muslim allies in an otherwise hostile Middle East. The two countries have enjoyed close military cooperation but relations have become strained since Erdogan’s Islamic-conservative AKP party won elections in 2002.

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