Turkish-Israeli accords prompt assassination attempt

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JERUSALEM — An Islamic militant angry at Turkey's military cooperation accord with Israel attempted this week to assassinate the Turkish president.

During a ceremony Saturday in the western Turkish town of Izmit, the assailant pulled a gun and pointed it at President Suleyman Demirel.

A plainclothes security guard tackled the man and the gun went off, slightly injuring a policeman and a journalist, but leaving the president unharmed.

According to Turkish authorities, the gunman was angry about an agreement the government signed in February with Israel. As part of that accord, Israeli pilots gained the right to train in Turkish airspace.

The accord prompted a one-day visit to Israel this week by Turkey's naval chief, a move that was expected to draw renewed protests from Islamic militants.

By midweek, Turkish officials said they were further reviewing the accords with Israel.

Many Muslims in Turkey who protested the accord hope to see the officially secular state abandon its relations with Israel and enact a code of strict Islamic law.

The party with the most seats in parliament is the pro-Islamic Welfare Movement, which draws many of its supporters from the country's poor.

Meanwhile, as part of his visit Monday to Israel, Adm. Guven Erkaya toured the Israeli naval base at Haifa as a guest of his Israeli counterpart, Maj. Gen. Alex Tal.

The Turkish media reportedly said the two countries were planning joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean next month.