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Turkish PM to skip Greek climate summit if Netanyahu participates

19 October 2010 [14:15] - TODAY.AZ
Turkey's prime minister said Monday he will not attend a climate change summit in Greece on Friday if his Israeli counterpart is there, Reuters news agency reported.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was scheduled to represent Turkey at the Mediterranean Climate Change Initiative on Friday, as both he and Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou were listed among the keynote speakers of the event.

But according to Reuters, Erdoğan told Skai TV he did not want to talk to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that if he "takes part in this event, I will not be there."

Relations between Turkey and Israel, once close allies, plummeted after Israeli commandos raided a Gaza-bound aid ship on May 31, killing eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent.

"A prime minister who is proud of such an armed intervention is a prime minister with whom I do not agree to talk," Erdoğan told Skai TV, Reuters reported.

Israel says its commandos resorted to force only after they were attacked when they rappelled onto the deck of the ferry, but pro-Palestinian activists on board say the soldiers opened fire as soon as they landed. Turkey has demanded that Israel apologize and pay compensation as pre-conditions for normalizing ties.

"On this issue, I think that Israel is close to the point of losing a very important friend in the Middle East and that is Turkey," Erdoğan said. "I think that they must pay for this audacity that characterizes the policy of this government."

Friday's summit in Athens will be a platform for discussions on environmental dangers and climate change in the Mediterranean region.

/Hurriyet Daily News/

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