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Israel apologizes to Turkey over insult

JERUSALEM — Israel on Wednesday caved in 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, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon summoned Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol to complain about a Turkish TV show, The Valley of the Wolves, that has been perceived as anti-Semitic.

Celikkol was seated on a low sofa and did not receive a handshake, while Ayalon explained to Israeli TV crews the humiliation was intentional. Ayalon's explanation was made in Hebrew, and Celikkol did not react.

Wednesday morning, Ayalon issued a statement admitting that his behavior was undiplomatic. Turkey rejected that and threatened to withdraw its ambassador if a formal apology was not forthcoming.

Late Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said a letter of apology has been written, and the premier "hopes this will end the affair." Israeli officials said the letter was delivered to Turkish officials in Ankara.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accepted the apology. "We have received the answer that we had been waiting for," Erdogan said.

Journalist detained: Security officials said Wednesday that an American journalist, identified by Palestinians as Jared Malsin, has been detained at Israel's Ben-Gurion Airport and will be expelled. They said the journalist raised security suspicions during an initial investigation upon his arrival. The Palestinian Maan news agency said Malsin is its English-language editor. George Hale of Maan said Malsin, who is Jewish, appealed the expulsion order and was to appear before a judge in a Tel Aviv court today.

Israel apologizes to Turkey over insult 01/13/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 8:34pm]
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