Tags: Israel Turkey Protests
Image: Israel Withdraws Diplomats After Erdogan's 'Incitement' of Protests
Demonstrators throw stones at the Israeli Embassy in Turkey on Friday. (Getty Images)

Israel Withdraws Diplomats After Erdogan's 'Incitement' of Protests

Friday, 18 Jul 2014 05:39 PM

Israel said on Friday it will reduce its diplomatic presence in Turkey after protesters angered by its ground offensive into Gaza pelted its consulate in Istanbul with stones and draped Palestinian flags on the ambassador's residence in Ankara.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of "incitement" and said it was ordering the return of diplomats' families and trimming staffing to a minimum.

Erdogan accused the Jewish state on Wednesday of terrorizing the region and likened an Israeli member of parliament and member of the governing coalition to Hitler. On Friday, he said there would be no improvement in relations between the two countries while he or his administration remained in charge.

"(Israel) has always been oppressive, and continues to oppress. Hence, as Turkey, I cannot think of positive developments with Israel as long as I hold this duty," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul.

He also criticized the West and the Muslim world for what he said was their silence in the face of "inhumane attacks."

"Westerners may say I am stirring up tensions, but I have the mission of winning the consent of people and God."

In Washington, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department called Erdogan's remarks about Israel "offensive and wrong."

"This kind of provocative rhetoric is unhelpful and distracts from urgent efforts to bring about a cease-fire," Jen Psaki told a regular news briefing.

"What we're continuing to convey to any country in the region, including Turkey, is that the most productive role they can play is supporting the Egyptian cease-fire proposal," she said, referring to a Gaza truce plan put forward by Cairo.

While noting that Turkey was a member of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance, Psaki said Washington would not hesitate to air its concerns "about comments made or actions taken, even when it is a NATO ally".

Turkey was once Israel's closest regional ally. But Erdogan has been a strident critic of its treatment of the Palestinians and has issued a series of broadsides against the Jewish state since the Gaza hostilities erupted.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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Israel said on Friday it will reduce its diplomatic presence in Turkey after protesters angered by its ground offensive into Gaza pelted its consulate in Istanbul with stones and draped Palestinian flags on the ambassador's residence in Ankara.
Israel Turkey Protests
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2014-39-18
Friday, 18 Jul 2014 05:39 PM
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