18 Jan 2010

Israeli minister begins visit to Turkey

5:49 am on 18 January 2010

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has begun a mission to mend relations with Turkey after a diplomatic spat between the two countries.

Turkey has a history of military co-operation with Israel and has acted as an intermediary for it with the Arab world.

However, the BBC reports Israeli-Turkish relations have deteriorated since Turkey condemned Israel's Gaza offensive in 2007-08.

Last week, Turkey's ambassador was publicly humiliated by the Israeli deputy foreign minister in an incident for which Turkey demanded and received an apology.

He was rebuked over a Turkish television drama, which depicted Israeli intelligence agents kidnapping Turkish children.

Mr Barak's visit was scheduled before the incident.