The State Department confirmed to members of Congress that Israel was not included in the 29-country Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which was organized by the U.S. and held its first meeting June 8 in Istanbul, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“The State Department told us that only the 29 original member countries were involved—and that means no Israel,” said an anonymous congressional source cited by the Free Beacon.
The U.S. excluded Israel due to objections from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Globes reported.
Launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in September 2011, the GCTF intends to “provide a unique platform for senior counterterrorism policymakers and experts from around the world to work together to identify urgent needs, devise solutions and mobilize resources for addressing key counterterrorism challenges,” according to the State Department.
Israel was not included despite having some of the world’s most comprehensive counterterrorism experience.