Turkey has recalled its ambassadors to Israel and the United States following the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces amid the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
The diplomats, currently stationed in Washington, DC, and Tel Aviv, will return to Turkey for “consultations”, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday, adding that three days of national mourning had been declared in solidarity with Palestine.
Ankara also called for an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to be held this week – possibly on Friday – and a UN General Assembly meeting over Israel’s use of force, Bozdag added.
JUST IN: Turkey is recalling its ambassadors to the US and Israel in an official protest of the Trump administration's decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem https://t.co/H7NJOhcK7Y pic.twitter.com/x7R4k9r0Q2
— CNN (@CNN) May 14, 2018
The move came just hours after Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear gas and firebombs at Palestinians protesting along the coastal enclave’s fence with Israel, killing at least 55 people and wounding more than 2,700 others.
South Africa also recalled its ambassador to Israel on Monday. South Africa’s foreign ministry said in a statement:
“Given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice.”
South Africa gives a moral lead to the world by withdrawing its Ambassador to Israel after today's massacre. They recognise apartheid when they see it. Apartheid Israel supporters using precisely same excuses (stones, burning tyres) ANC remember from Sharpeville, Soweto etc.
— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) May 14, 2018
The demonstrations in Gaza, which coincided with protests against the opening of the US embassy on Monday, are part of a weeks-long Great March of Return movement calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the areas they were forcibly expelled from in 1948.
A massive gathering of protestors in Istanbul march towards the US embassy. They protest against the US move to open its embassy in #Jerusalem. #Turkey #Palestine #Gaza #Israel pic.twitter.com/5gWRgS40K5
— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_) May 14, 2018
Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 104 Palestinians and wounded about 12,000 others.
Speaking later on Friday during a visit to the UK capital, London, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of being a “terrorist state”, saying it was committing a “genocide” against Palestinians.
President Erdoğan: “Israel is conducting state terrorism. Israel is a terrorist state. We will determinedly continue to stand by our Palestinian brothers and sisters.” pic.twitter.com/vtcjx5d9Hs
— Turkish Presidency (@trpresidency) May 15, 2018
Referring to the US embassy move, Erdogan said Turkey “will not allow today to be the day Muslim world loses Jerusalem”.
Erdogan’s comments came as thousands of people took to the streets of Turkey’s largest city to protest against the embassy relocation.
At least 6,000 people converged on Monday in central Istanbul to denounce the inauguration ceremony.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)