Turkish President Shuns Event Attended by Israel's Defense Minister

Abduallah Gul boycotts lunch at international conference in Vienna after finding out Ehud Barak will be attending.

Turkish President Abduallah Gul skipped a lunch attended by Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Saturday at an international conference held in Vienna, Austria.

Officials at Gul's office said that the president found out that Barak would be attending the event, held as part of the Fourth Edition of the World Policy Conference, and decided not to attend.

Turkish President Abdullah GulReuters

The officials added that they received the list of participants on Thursday evening, despite asking to review it earlier. Instead of attending the lunch, the officials said, Gul and his entourage decided to visit a Turkish neighborhood in Vienna. Gul also refused to take part in a group photograph with Barak.

Turkey has downgraded diplomatic ties and halted defense-related trade after Israel refused to apologize for the raid on the Mavi Marmara in May 2010 in which nine Turks were killed.

Read this article in Hebrew: נשיא טורקיה החרים ארוחה בה נכח אהוד ברק