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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A lesson in geography: Turkey official addresses letter to Knesset Speaker in Tel Aviv

The letter should have embarrassed the sender. Perhaps it should have been returned:
"Address incorrect."
Last update - 21:51 10/11/2009       
Turkey official addresses letter to Knesset Speaker in Tel Aviv
By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent
The Turkish head of parliament sent Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin a missive on Monday stating that the Israeli legislature was located in Tel Aviv, as opposed to the capital Jerusalem.
The letter, addressed to "Reuven Rivlin, Chairman of the Israeli Parliament, Tel Aviv," embarrassed more than a few Knesset officials, with the Knesset Speaker's Office opting not to turn the possible mistake into a diplomatic spat.
"Jerusalem's status as the capital of Israel and as the home of the Knesset is well established, and there is no doubt that that is a fact well understood in Ankara," a note of clarification released by the Knesset Speaker's Office said on Tuesday.
Despite recent tension between Israel and Turkey, the Knesset Speaker's Office expressed satisfaction over the letter, sent in reply to Rivlin's note of congratulations over the recent election of Mehmet Ali Sahin as the new Turkish Parliament Speaker.
"I would like to thank you for the gracious congratulatory letter you sent me on behalf of yourself and the Israeli Knesset for my election into office," Sahin wrote.
"I would like to stress that during my term as parliament speaker the bonds of friendship and cooperation will continue between the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the Israeli parliament," Sahin added, wishing Rivlin "luck in his duties and passing my genuine regards to the honorable members of Israel's parliament."
The mishap follows the more recet diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey, generated over Turkey's disapproval of Israel's actions in its war against Hamas in Gaza, earlier in the year.
Last month Turkey canceled a NATO air force drill in which Israeli pilots were set to participate in protest of Israel's invasion of Gaza, with tensions further deepening after Turkey's state-run TV aired a drama series that portrayed Israeli soldiers killing a Palestinian girl.

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