Turkish TV show portraying IDF soldiers as murderers sparks outrage
Netanyahu: We hope Turkey seeks peace, not extremism; Foreign Min. rebukes Turkey envoy.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced his outrage over a Turkish television drama that depicts Israel Defense Forces soldiers as brutal war criminals.
The drama includes images of Israeli soldiers shooting a smiling young girl in the chest, steamrolling a tank through a crowded street and lining up a firing squad to shoot at a group of Palestinians.
"We are disappointed by the incitement on Turkish television and we are not very happy by the trends we are seeing in Turkey of late," he said at a joint press conference with visiting Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
"These events question the path Turkey is on, and we hope it is toward strengthening peace and not the extremists," Netanyahu added.
The Foreign Ministry earlier on Thursday rebuked the acting Turkish Ambassador to Israel, Ceylan Ozen, over the show.
Naor Gilon, the Foreign Ministry's deputy director for Western Europe, on Thursday said that Israel places great importance on its relations with Turkey, but that it cannot stand by while such images denigrating Israel and the IDF are depicted.
"This kind of incitement is likely to lead to physical harm being done to Jews and Israelis who arrive in Turkey as tourists," Gilon told the Turkish envoy.
Gilon added that such a program, which uses stereotypes to instill hatred, must concern anyone who seeks coexistence between people of different nations and faiths.
He said that Israel views the program with utmost gravity, especially in light of the fact that the soldiers they depict as bloodthirsty killers in real life were the ones to aid Turkey after an earthquake there in 1999.
Earlier Thursday, the show's producer said that his show does not portray the IDF as a whole, but only a certain group of soldiers who had murdered Palestinians.
Speaking in an interview with Israel Radio, the producer added that he and his colleagues loved Israel and were convinced that Israelis do not support acts of slaughter perpetrated against Palestinians.
The show, called Ayrilik, features a love story that develops between the lead characters during Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza.
But a partial episode available on YouTube depicts multiple images of the IDF brutalizing the Palestinian population by shooting children in the chest and kicking elderly people on the ground, among other things.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that, "Broadcasting this series is incitement of the most severe kind, and it is done under government sponsorship."
Lieberman added: "Such a drama series, which doesn't even have the slightest link to reality and which presents Israeli soldiers as murderers of innocent children, isn't worthy of being broadcast even by enemy states and certainly not in a state which has full diplomatic relations with Israel."