The President of Turkey has boycotted a lunch and other fringe events at the 4th World Policy Conference in Vienna due to the presence of Israel’s Minister of Defence. Abdullah Gul also refused to take part in a group photograph of participants alongside Ehud Barak, who left the conference hall before Gul took the stage to deliver his speech.
Diplomatic tensions between Ankara and Tel Aviv have remained high since Israel’s assault on the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 during which nine Turkish citizens were killed by Israeli soldiers. Israel has refused consistently to apologise for the killings. Turkey cut military relations and trade with Israel, and downgraded diplomatic relations in response to Israel’s intransigence.