Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Saturday that he recalled some of Israel's diplomatic representatives in Turkey for a "reassessment of the relations between Israel and Turkey," following comments by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who condemned Israel as an "occupier" during a rally in Istanbul and accused it of committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
"Israel has been openly committing war crimes for 22 days, but the Western leaders cannot even call on Israel for a cease-fire, let alone react to it," Erdogan told a massive crowd of hundreds of thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters, marking one of the largest rallies since the Hamas-Israel war.
His address was seen as an attempt to strengthen his political base, which has Islamist leanings, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Turkey's secular republic.
"We will tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal. We are making preparations for this. We will declare Israel a war criminal," he said.
In his speech, Erdogan also repeated that Hamas was not a terrorist organization, describing Israel as an occupier.
Turkey condemned Israeli civilian deaths caused by Hamas's October 7 terror attack in southern Israel, in which 1,400 Israeli infants, children and civilians were murdered. But earlier this week Erdogan called Hamas Palestinian "freedom fighters". He also criticized some Western nations for their unconditional support of Israel.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Saturday that Israel had recalled some of its diplomatic representatives to Turkey because of "grave statements" made by Ankara.
"Given the grave statements coming from Turkey, I have ordered the return of diplomatic representatives there in order to conduct a reassessment of the relations between Israel and Turkey," Cohen said in a post on "X".
At the same time, thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators took to the streets of London, calling on the British government to demand a cease-fire. The demonstrators marched through the city center, with their route expected to pass by the residence of the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, on Downing Street, before reaching the British Parliament.