JERUSALEM — Israel said on Monday it was withdrawing its police representative from Turkey and ending bilateral cooperation between their forces as the diplomatic crisis between the two former allies deepened.
“Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch has ordered the transfer to Bucharest of the Israel Police representative in Ankara,” ministry spokesman Tal Volovich told AFP.
“The minister took this decision because of the deterioration in bilateral relations,” he said, adding: “There is no longer police cooperation between the two countries.”
Israel and Turkey have been locked in a bitter dispute since May 2010 when Israeli naval commandos stormed a convoy of six ships trying to reach the Gaza Strip in defiance of an Israeli naval blockade, killing nine people.
Ankara has demanded a full apology but although Israel expressed regret over the loss of life, it said its men acted in self-defence and that the blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip is both necessary and legal.
Earlier this month, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and froze military ties and defence trade.
Relations plunged still further when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to send warships to escort any future Turkish vessels trying to reach Gaza.