Israel’s Envoy to Turkey Told to Return to Israel ‘For Some Time’

ANKARA (Reuters) -
Pro-Palestinian rioters gather to protest against the U.S. Embassy move to Yerushalayim, near the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday. (Reuters/Stringer)

Turkey told Israel’s ambassador to leave the country on Tuesday after Israeli forces killed 59 Palestinian rioters during protests on the Gaza border Monday.

Turkey has been one of the most vocal critics of Israel’s response to the Gaza protests and the embassy move, recalling its ambassadors from Tel Aviv and Washington and calling for an emergency meeting of Islamic nations on Friday.

President Tayyip Erdogan described Monday’s bloodshed, the deadliest for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza conflict, as genocide and called Israel a terrorist state. The government declared three days of mourning.

“The Israeli ambassador was told that our envoy to Israel was called back for consultations, and was informed that it would be appropriate for him to go back to his country for some time,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry source said.

Government spokesman Bekir Bozdag told parliament on Tuesday that Turkey held the United States equally accountable for Monday’s violence.

“The blood of innocent Palestinians is on the hands of the United States,” he said. “The United States is part of the problem, not the solution.”

Relations between Ankara and Washington, two NATO allies, have been deeply strained over the embassy move, disagreements over military deployment in north Syria, and court cases against Turkish and U.S. nationals in each country.

There have been demonstrations against Israel in Istanbul and in the capital Ankara. Erdogan, who is campaigning for presidential and parliamentary elections next month, said a rally will be held on Friday to protest the killings.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim also said that Muslim countries should review their ties with Israel after Monday’s violence.

Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wrote on Twitter that “Erdogan is among Hamas’s biggest supporters and there is no doubt that he well understands terrorism and slaughter.

“I suggest that he not preach morality to us,” said Netanyahu.