Israel has decided to recall its diplomats from Turkey following accusations made by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who accused Israel of acting like a “war criminal”.
These comments were made during a pro-Palestinian rally in Istanbul, where thousands of demonstrators gathered. The Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, responded by instructing diplomats to return.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended Israel by asserting that it has “the most moral army in the world”.
Recently, Israel has intensified its attacks on the Gaza Strip, responding to Hamas’ attack on southern Israel three weeks ago. The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza reports that over 7,500 Palestinians have been killed in the retaliatory strikes.
Addressing a crowd of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian supporters, President Erdogan declared that “the West” is the main culprit behind the ongoing massacre in Gaza. He criticized Western leaders for their failure to call for a ceasefire or take action against Israel.
Erdogan accused Israel of war crimes and condemned their attempt to “eradicate” Palestinians. He questioned the justice in the situation, calling it a “vicious massacre”.
In earlier posts on Twitter, President Erdogan condemned the latest escalation, stating that innocent civilians were targeted and Gaza’s humanitarian crisis worsened. He demanded that Israel immediately stop the attacks.
Following President Erdogan’s remarks at the rally, Israel’s Foreign Minister Cohen announced on Twitter a re-evaluation of the relations between Israel and Turkey due to the serious statements from Turkey.
Later, Prime Minister Netanyahu defended Israel against accusations of war crimes and hypocrisy. He asserted that the Israel Defense Forces prioritize civilian protection and accused Hamas of using their own people as human shields, committing crimes against humanity.
More on Israel-Gaza war
Israel and Turkey have a history of tense relations. In 2010, Turkey cut off diplomatic ties with Israel after clashes between Israeli commandos and pro-Palestinian Turkish activists resulted in 10 deaths on a Turkish-owned ship attempting to break Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Relations were restored in 2016 but deteriorated again in 2018 when both countries expelled each other’s top diplomats following Israel’s killing of Palestinians during protests on the Gaza-Israel border.
Unlike countries such as the US and UK, Turkey does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization. It has consistently hosted Hamas members and supports a two-state solution.
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