Israel Denies Turkish Reports as ´Baseless´ (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Rachel Hirshfeld 05/22/12)
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Israel denied reports that appeared in the Turkish media on Monday
that claimed that Israel is planning to deploy thousands of troops in
Cyprus in efforts to protect oil and gas interests in the region.
The report, which appeared in Turkey´s Anatolia news agency and
appeared doubtful to reporters, claimed that Israel planned to send
approximately 20,000 troops to Greek Cyprus.
"These allegations are baseless and have no connection with reality,"
the Israeli embassy in Ankara said, quoting a foreign ministry
statement. "Israel has never deployed troops on foreign soil."
On Friday, Turkey threatened repercussions against companies bidding
for oil and gas drilling projects off Cyprus.
The move prompted a sharp response from Cyprus, which condemned
this "illegal and provocative attitude of Turkey, which seeks gunboat
diplomacy to promote its expansionist designs in Cyprus."
Turkey´s warning came after the Cypriot government said 29 companies
had made 15 bids for exploratory drilling in a second round of
licensing to exploit offshore oil and gas deposits, AFP reported.
Cypriot President Demetris Christofias has said the island´s offshore
oil and gas search would carry on regardless of the hostile reaction
from Ankara, and that any finds will be used for the benefit of all
Diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey became increasingly
hostile in 2010, when Israeli naval commandos, seeking to protect
Israelís national security, boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla, filled
with pro-Palestinian activists seeking to infiltrate Israelís
borders. The incident resulted in the death of nine Turkish
activists, including one US citizen.
On Thursday the Turkish military accused Israel of violating the
airspace of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is
only recognized by Ankara. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 05/22/12)
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