Turkey asks Israel ambassador to ‘temporarily leave the country’

Turkey asks Israel ambassador to ‘temporarily leave the country’

Serkan Demirtaş - ANKARA
Turkey asks Israel ambassador to ‘temporarily leave the country’

Turkey has asked Israeli Ambassador to Ankara Eitan Naeh to “temporarily leave the country” in reaction to the killing of scores of Palestinian protestors by Israeli security forces, while the Turkish envoy to Tel Aviv has arrived in Ankara after being called back for consultations.

The Foreign Ministry summoned Naeh on May 15 and asked him to leave Turkey, sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Naeh was appointed as ambassador to Ankara in December 2016 after the two countries reconciled broken ties over the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. The Israeli envoy is expected to leave Turkey, sources said without detailing when.

Turkish Ambassador to Tel Aviv Kemal Ökem arrived in Ankara on May 15 and will stay in Ankara for consultations for an unspecified length of time.

Ankara’s move followed Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s statement on the same day that called on Muslim countries to review their ties with Israel.

“Muslim countries should absolutely review their ties with Israel. The Islamic world should display unity and togetherness against these villains. Turkey has not remained silent and will not remain silent to this cruelty,” Yıldırım said at a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group meeting on May 15.

Turkey strongly condemned the U.S. for moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Israel for killing more than 60 Palestinians on May 14.

Yıldırım described the crackdown against Palestinian protestors as “Israeli state terror” and accused the U.S. of fueling tension in the Middle East.

He announced that the Turkish government decided to take measures on the Jerusalem issue, while saying they are preparing for an extraordinary meeting of the OIC in Istanbul on May 18.

Serving as the OIC term president, Turkey had initiated an extraordinary summit in Istanbul in December 2017 to protest the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in violation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a phone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas late May 14 to diuss recent developments in the region. State-run Anadolu Agency reported that Erdoğan would hold phone conversations with other world leaders, including U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Turkey’s diplomatic activities will also include initiatives for the convention of the U.N. General Assembly to discuss the U.S. move and the killings of Palestinians by Israeli security forces.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will reportedly conduct works for the evacuation of injured Palestinians to Turkey.

More than 1,500 Palestinians were wounded in the protests on May 14.

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