Israel to cooperate with Turkey's rivals

Sept. 9, 2011 at 2:23 PM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says he will take harsh measures against Turkey's decision to downgrade diplomatic ties with Israel, a report said.

Israeli officials said Turkey is trying to exploit the diplomatic dispute to promote Turkey's status in the Muslim world, Ynetnews reported Thursday.

Turkey has demanded an apology from Israel for the death of nine Turkish nationals on a ship trying to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza.

Lieberman said he will urge all Israeli military veterans to refrain from traveling to Turkey and facilitate cooperation with the Armenians -- Turkey's historic rivals. He said he also plans to meet with the Turkish rebel group PKK to "cooperate with them and boost them in every possible area."

"We'll exact a price from (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan that will prove to him that messing with Israel doesn't pay off," Lieberman said. "Turkey better treat us with respect and common decency."

Turkey does not appear to be backing down from the diplomatic rift, with Turkish President Abdullah Gul accusing Israel of being an ungrateful burden to its allies, Hurriyet News reported Thursday.

He said democracy is on the ascent in the Middle East and "Israel must think about an honorable peace."

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