Israeli Military Chief Arrives in Ankara

Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi arrived in Ankara on Monday to take part in a NATO conference on terrorism and international cooperation.

Ashkenazi, who is the first Israeli military chief to visit Turkey since 2005, will be welcomed in an official ceremony at the military headquarters before meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Gen. İlker Başbuğ, at 2:30 p.m.

Ashkenazi is set to visit Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and hold talks with Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül as part of his one-day trip.

He will attend the official NATO conference dinner hosted by the chief of the Turkish military before his departure for Israel on Monday night on a military plane.  

In January, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to Turkey in an effort to ease tensions and to secure continued military cooperation between the once-close allies.

His visit came after deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon, backed by his boss, the ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, deliberately seated Turkish envoy Oğuz Çelikkol in a low chair and removed the Turkish flag from a table during a diplomatic meeting to protest a Turkish television series that showed Israel in a bad light. Ankara was angered by the public dressing down that trigged a major diplomatic row.

Turkey has long been Israel’s ally in the region and meditated peace negotiations with Syria. The countries’ bilateral relations, however, deteriorated after Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008.

Articles by: Global Research

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