Israeli Foreign Ministry officials are set to meet with Turkey's ambassador to their country to protest at a show on Turkish TV which it is claimed portrays Israeli soldiers taking part in the January offensive in the Gaza Strip as murderers.
The state-sponsored channel TRT1 recently began broadcasting a show titled "Ayrilik" ("Farewell"), which is supposedly a love story set in the Gaza Strip during the time of its occupation by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in January of this year.
However the show is causing anger in Israel because of scenes in which members of the IDF are, according to Ynet News, portrayed as murderous and bloodthirsty.
There are said to be a number of contentious scenes in the show - including Palestinians armed only with stones clashing with the IDF, Palestinians facing an IDF firing squad and civilians being beaten by soldiers - but from the report by AFP it appears that two scenes in particular are responsible for much of the Israeli anger.
In one of the scenes, apparently also shown on Israeli television, a young Palestinian girl is seen being shot by a smiling Israeli soldier. Whilst in another scene a bullet from the gun of an Israeli soldier is seen traveling in slow motion toward another Palestinian child.
Ynet News reports that the website for "Farewell" says the show "brings to life the bleeding wound of Palestine. The show depicts all sides of the generations-long tragedy… This season focuses on the women and children and the Palestinian story, as well as the notion that the ultimate solution is love, compassion and world peace".
But Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman sees no merit in the show whatsoever, believing instead that it is "inciting hatred against Israel". Accordingly he has summoned the Turkish ambassador to his country to a meeting with senior officials in his department when a protest regarding the show's content will be made.
AFP quotes a statement issued by Mr Lieberman's department which asserts that the series is "incitement at the most severe level and is done under state patronage". The statement goes on to say:Such a series, which doesn’t even have a weak connection to reality, and which presents the IDF's soldiers as murderers of innocent children, is unworthy of being broadcast in enemy states, let alone in a country which had full diplomatic relations with Israel
Relations between Turkey and Israel, usually the closest of any relations Israel has with a Muslim state, have reportedly grown tense in recent times, largely because of Turkish disapproval of Israel's incursion in to the Gaza Strip in January. Indeed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has referred only this week to "diplomatic sensitivities".
Significantly Turkey announced last week the postponement of international air exercises, in which Israel was to participate, that were due to take place in Central Turkey from October 12 through October 23. Although Prime Minister Erdogan has seemingly indicated that the exercises will take place, but without Israel.
Despite pessimism in some quarters regarding Turkish-Israeli relations, Professor Ilker Ayturk from Bilkent University in the Turkish capital Ankara has spoken of how those relations have " touched bottom" and has made mention of "the current crisis", Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak appears eager to emphasize the positive, saying:I think that basically there are ups and downs for all different reasons in relations, but our relationship with Turkey is long-standing, important and strategic in nature