Turkish FM Leaves Munich Conference to Avoid Israelis

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu listens to translation of a question in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran, Iran, Dec. 17, 2014.Turkey’s foreign minister pulled out of a security conference in Munich Friday, saying he did not want to attend a session with an Israeli delegation.

«I was going to participate in the conference, but we decided not to after they included the Israeli representatives in the Middle East session,» Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Berlin.

Cavusoglu stressed the decision has nothing to do with Turkey’s relationship with Germany.

The move comes amid a dramatic downturn in Turkey-Israel relations under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last month, the two sides exchanged angry barbs in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks.

Erdogan criticized Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu for attending a solidarity rally in the French capital to condemn the attacks.

«How can a man who has killed 2,500 people in Gaza with state terrorism wave his hand in Paris, like people are waiting in excitement for him to do so?,» he said. «How dare he go there?»

Netanyahu responded by calling the comments «shameful,» saying they «must be repudiated by the international community, because the war against terrorism will only succeed if it is guided by moral clarity.»