ANKARA (Ha’aretz) — The Turkish Foreign Ministry last Tuesday summoned Israeli Ambassador Gaby Levy for clarification, a day after the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem called in Ankara’s envoy to Israel for what the latter described to Army Radio as the most shameful experience of his 35-year career.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon did not intend to humiliate Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol by seating him in a lower chair without flag representation during their meeting.
Celikkol was called in regarding a recent Turkish television drama depicting actors dressed as Shin Bet officers who kidnap babies.
The Foreign Ministry stressed that it had summoned the envoy and ordered the seating arrangement to make clear that it would respond to any insult made by the Turkish leadership.
Three months ago, a similar diplomatic instance occurred between the two countries after Turkey aired the controversial television drama “Ayrilik” (“Separation”) which featured actors dressed as Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian children.
During the meeting, Turkey’s ambassador was seated in a low sofa, and facing him, in higher chairs, were Ayalon and two other officials — an arrangement carried out at Lieberman’s orders.
A photo-op was held at the start of the meeting, during which Ayalon told the photographers in Hebrew: “Pay attention that he is sitting in a lower chair and we are in the higher ones, that there is only an Israeli flag on the table and that we are not smiling.
Celikkol’s associates told Army Radio on Tuesday, that the meeting with Ayalon was “the most shameful display” he had seen in 35 years as a diplomat.
According to the associates, Celikkol had no idea what the topic of conversation was to be when first seated. When the cameras left the room, the sources said, the meeting was normal and professional.