ANKARA: Turkey has ordered the Israeli consul general in Istanbul to return to Israel “for some time”, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said on Wednesday, in a diplomatic spat which follows the killings of 60 Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces.
Turkey has been among the most vocal critics of the Israeli use of deadly force against protesters at the Gaza border and of the U.S. decision to open its new embassy in a ceremony attended by President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
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.
Turkey has expelled Israel’s ambassador and recalled its ambassadors from Tel Aviv and Washington. It has called for an emergency meeting of Islamic nations on Friday.
Israel expelled the Turkish consul-general in Jerusalem, and Erdogan exchanged heated words on Twitter with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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.