Liberman calls to sanction Turkey

November 22, 2015  

Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman on Saturday night called on Israel to take action against Turkey, following an incident in which the Israeli women’s basketball team was harassed during a game in Ankara.

Before the game Saturday evening, as the Israeli anthem Hatikvah was played, a large number of Turkish fans threw objects onto the players, booed them loudly and waved Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags.

In response to the incident, Liberman said, “I call on the Foreign Ministry to file a strong protest with Turkey and call on the Ministry of Culture and Sports to contact FIBA ​​and demand harsh disciplinary measures against Turkey and the Turkish Basketball Association for the throwing of objects at the Israeli women’s team by Turkish fans.”

“This incident is a direct result of the harsh incitement against Israel by the Erdogan government,” continued Liberman, who also called on international authorities to intervene to address the serious incident that took place in Ankara.

“If Erdogan’s Turkey cannot allow sports competitions and allow fair competition, then the international sports organizations must prevent it from hosting international competitions,” he said.

Israel-Turkey relations have, of course, been strained for years as Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become more and more Islamist. The relations broke down completely following the 2010 flotilla to Gaza, when the Turkish Marmara ship, which claimed to be providing “humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza,” defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port. After it ignored repeated warnings to change course, the IDF boarded the vessel – only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board.

The soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of nine of the IHH members on board. After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid – in fact, no aid supplies at all – whatsoever. 

When Israel refused Turkey’s demand that it apologize for the incident and compensate the victims’ families, Turkey cut ties with the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later apologized to Erdogan, then Prime Minister who has since been elected President, over the Marmara incident at the urging of the United States, and the sides were supposed to enter talks on compensation for the victims, but those seem to have stalled.

Erdogan, however, has never stopped his verbal attacks and incitement against Israel, even as talks on compensation continued.

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