Barak: Turkey will not become an enemy of Israel

The defense minister: The problems are with Iran and Syria, not with Turkey.

"Turkey will not become an enemy of Israel. We have no interest in turning it into an enemy," Minister of Defense Ehud Barak told Kol Israel (the Voice of Israel Radio) this morning. "We won't let the disputes get out of hand. In the end, this wave will past."

"The problems are with Iran and Syria, not with Turkey," said Barak. "Honor in our region is very important, but I advise not letting it dominate the scene, addle us, or let our gut rule our minds."

As for an Israeli apology to Turkey over the nine Turkish deaths in takeover of the Mavi Marmara during the May 2010 Gaza flotilla, Barak said, "No one likes to apologize, and I expressed regret before and I now express regret personally and on behalf of the State of Israel for the loss of life."

On the issue of the social protest and reports that the government plans to cut the defense budget, Barak said, "I look at the slums… we must find a solution. I won't panic about a defense budget cut, it's only necessary to know that cutting the defense budget harms defense. Israel must stay strong, but there are limits. Defense must receive the money it needs and cuts ought to be made where they should be made."

Barak added, "We can act to change social reality without panicking. We can act to change Israel's diplomatic reality, we can act to change the security reality - and if someone forces us, then we can hit back."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on September 8, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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