Fri Feb 6, 2015 9:19PM
The Turkish foreign minister has withdrawn from the Munich Security Conference over the presence of an Israeli delegation in a marginal session.
Mevlut Cavusoglu decided on Friday to pull out of the conference at the last minute after he found out that organizers of a meeting on Middle East had included representatives from Israel.
“I was going to attend the conference but we decided not to after they added Israeli officials to the Middle East session at the last minute,” Cavusoglu said in a news conference after a meeting in Berlin with Turkey’s envoys to the European countries.
However, he said that the decision has nothing to do with Turkey’s relations with Germany.
The move highly infuriated the Israelis present at the talks with head of the delegation Yuval Steinitz, who serves as Israel’s minister of strategic affairs, saying that Cavusoglu’s decision to pull out of the conference heavily clouded “Turkey’s future and character.”
Turkey downgraded its ties with Israel after the Tel Aviv regime killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists on board of a flotilla that was heading toward Gaza in 2010. Another Turkish activist later died of wounds from the attack. Ankara reacted harshly and made the Israelis apologize for the killing, but the ties of the former allies remain to be normalized.
The 2010 tragedy has also made Turkish officials more outspoken against Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.
Last summer, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel’s massive assault on Gaza a clear case of barbarism which even outsized atrocities committed by Hitler.
The Munich Security Conference is the largest gathering on international security policy and has been taking place annually since 1963.