Israel's Barak heads to Turkey after diplomatic row

Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak travelled to Turkey on Sunday in the wake of a diplomatic row between the two military allies sparked by a controversial Turkish TV series.

Barak was to meet his counterpart Vecdi Gonul and Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu for talks that were to focus on arms deals, Israeli public radio reported.

Muslim-majority Turkey has been a close military ally of Israel since 1996 but relations between the two countries have been tense in the wake of Israel's devastating war on Gaza last year which Turkey vehemently criticised.

Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak travelled to Turkey on Sunday in the wake of a diplomatic row between the two military allies sparked by a controversial Turkish TV series.

Relations hit a new low last week, when Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon publicly dressed down Turkish ambassador Oguz Celikkol over a controversial Turkish TV series the government said presented Israelis as baby-snatchers.

Both the government and Ayalon himself later apologised for the incident -- in which Celikkol was forced to sit in a low couch and the Turkish flag was removed -- after Turkey threatened to withdraw its ambassador.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly slammed Israel over its policies towards the Palestinians in the wake of the Gaza war, said the response was what "we wanted and expected in diplomatic terms."

The series that sparked the row showed a Turkish secret agent storming an Israeli diplomatic mission to rescue a Turkish boy kidnapped by Mossad agents, an episode Israel slammed for portraying Israel and Jews as "war criminals."

source AFP

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