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Israelis apologize to Turkey for insult

By Mark Lavie
Associated Press / January 14, 2010

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JERUSALEM - Israel yesterday yielded to demands from Turkey and apologized over an insult to its ambassador, a government statement said, an attempt to defuse the latest crisis between the two nations.

On Monday, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, summoned the Turkish ambassador to complain about a TV show. The ambassador was forced to sit on a low sofa without a handshake while Ayalon explained to local TV stations that the humiliation was intentional.

Outraged, Turkey threatened to recall the ambassador.

Late yesterday, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said a letter of apology has been written.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey accepted the apology.

The crisis erupted Monday, when Ayalon summoned the Turkish ambassador to complain about a Turkish TV drama. The show, “The Valley of the Wolves,’’ depicts Israeli security forces kidnapping children and shooting old men.

Over the past decade, the two states had built up a strong relationship, but recently tensions have risen.