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Israeli Parliamentarians Take a Shot at Turkey with Armenian Genocide Hearing

Israeli parliamentarians repaid Turkey for two years of public browbeating by holding a public hearing on the issue of the Armenian genocide on Monday. Although not the first time the issue has come up, it marked the first time legislators opened the debate to the public, an act seen as a deliberate slight aimed at the Turks. Turkey is extremely sensitive about the killing of as many as 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire following World War I and riles at attempts to brand it “genocide.” Israel’s formerly warm relationship with Turkey was one of its major foreign policy achievements until Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan waxed into arguably Israel’s greatest detractor after Iran’s Ahmadinejad following the Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip at the end of 2008. The bad feelings further exploded when Israeli commandoes boarded a Turkish-flagged ship that set out to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010. In October, Erdogan expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara and lowered the level of diplomatic relations. Last week, Israel cancelled a contract to supply an aerial intelligence platform to Turkey for fear it would wind up in the hands of an enemy state.