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    Oktay Eksi: This business is out of control

    Hürriyet Haber
    21 Şubat 2006 - 09:22Son Güncelleme : 21 Şubat 2006 - 09:22

    It seems that this business is out of control. Reading the news, we have not been able to find an answer to the question "how can things like this happen in diplomacy?"

    As you by now know, Hamas leader Halid Meshaal was invited to Ankara by our government, which is full of ambition to be "the big state in the Middle East."

    Well, either they were invited, or their request to come wasn't turned down.
    And our Foreign Minister, since he understands how this all works, gave information about the Meshaal visit to countries that were interested, including Israel, both before and after the man came and left from Ankara.
    Of course, I did write a little column criticizing the open-armed embrace of a delegation from Hamas, which is, after all, still officially counted as a "terror group" in Turkey. I didn't see anything wrong, however, with our government giving information about Meshaal's visit (after the visit was over) to the US, Russia, the EU, and the UN. But that's not what Israeli Ambassador to Ankara, Pinhas Avivi, thought. Avivi's rejection of the Turkish Foreign Ministry's Middle East general director Bozkurt Aran's invitation to be debriefed on the Meshaal visit was behavior anathema to diplomtic rules and traditions.
    According to reports, Avivi's response to the invitation contained a reference to the Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who had apparently given orders to Avivi to speak only with FM Gul on the Meshaal matter.
    Aran from the Turkish Foreign Ministry was curt in his reply, in which he pointed out that the invitation had been issued to Avivi simply to debrief him, and that it was not a matter of political hierarchy. I spoke with Ambassador Avivi, who said that he would have gone to a 'briefing,' had this actually been one. According to Avivi, "This was not a briefing. This was an invitation following the initiation of dialogue with Hamas. There is a great difference between this and a briefing. That's why I didn't go."
    In the end, it is clear that Avivi's orders are coming directly from Israel's new Foreign MInister Tzipi Livni. Which means Turkey should be viewing the present tension more seriously than it has been up to now.


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