Israeli envoy in Turkey summoned

August 3rd, 2010 - 8:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Istanbul, Aug 3 (DPA) Israel’s ambassador to Turkey has been asked to explain recent remarks made by his country’s defence minister regarding concerns he has about Turkey’s new intelligence chief, Turkish officials said Tuesday.
Envoy Gaby Levy was summoned Monday to the Turkish foreign ministry.

In remarks made at a July 25 closed-door meeting of party activists, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said he is concerned that Hakan Fidan, who was appointed to head Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation in May, is a “friend of Iran”.

Parts of Barak’s speech ended up being broadcast on Israel Army Radio. In one part, Barak said he was worried that several secrets Israel had shared in the past with Turkey “could become open to Iran over the next several months”.

Fidan was previously a foreign policy advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was Turkey’s representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The once-close relations between Turkey and Israel have been severely strained since an Israeli commando raided a Turkish-led Gaza aid flotilla May 31, leaving nine Turkish activists dead.

At the same time, relations between Turkey and some of its other neighbours, Syria and Iran in particular, have improved rapidly in recent years.

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