Turkey expels Israel's consul general to Istanbul in spat over Gaza violence

Hannah Rogers
May 16, 2018

Turkey on Tuesday urged Islamic countries to review their ties with Israel and said it would call an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after the illegal state forces massacred dozens of Palestinians during protests in Gaza on Monday.

It rejects the criticism, saying its open-fire rules are necessary to defend its border.

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 Turkish consul in Jerusalem was summoned this afternoon to the ministry of foreign affairs and was asked to return to his country for consultations for a certain period", an Israeli foreign ministry statement said.

Netanyahu meanwhile told Erdoğan that as a leading supporter of Palestinian group Hamas "there's no doubt he's an expert on terror and slaughter".

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Turkey has responded to the violence by asking the Israeli ambassador to leave the country, while also recalling its ambassadors to the USA and Israel "for consultations".

Since the border rallies began on March 30, more than 100 Palestinian demonstrators have been martyred by cross-border Israeli gunfire, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Israel suspended the import of agricultural products from Turkey on May 16.

Furthermore, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) will hold an emergency meeting in Istanbul regarding Palestine on May 18.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim earlier said Turkey is calling on Muslim countries to reconsider relations with Israel.

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