ReutersANKARA (Reuters) — Turkey and Israel expelled each other’s senior diplomats on Tuesday in a dispute over the killing by Israeli forces of Palestinians a day earlier during protests on the Gaza border.
Turkey told Israel’s ambassador to leave the country on Tuesday after Israeli forces killed Palestinians during protests on the Gaza border against the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
Turkey has been one of the most vocal critics of Israel’s response to the Gaza protests and of the U.S. Embassy move, recalling its ambassadors from Tel Aviv and Washington and calling for an emergency meeting of Islamic nations on Friday.
Turkish President Recep 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.
Hours later, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the Turkish Consul-General in Jerusalem had been summoned and told to return to Turkey “for consultations for a period of time.”
The dispute appears to mark the worst diplomatic crisis between the two regional powers since Israeli marines stormed an aid ship to enforce a naval blockade of Gaza in 2010, killing 10 Turkish activists and prompting a downgrade in diplomatic ties that lasted until 2016.Speech