Protest in Turkey. Israelis urged to avoid crowded places
Photo: Reuters

Turkey recalls Israel envoy over flotilla raid

Turkish deputy prime minister says ambassador in Israel to be called back in protest of takeover of Gaza-bound aid ships. Meanwhile, Israeli Counter-Terrorism Bureau issues travel warning urging Israelis not to visit Turkey. Istanbul Jews: We're afraid

Turkey's deputy prime minister says Turkey is withdrawing its ambassador to Israel, canceling three joint military drills and calling on the UN Security Council to convene in an emergency session about Israel.


The moves come after 10 pro-Palestinian activists on an aid flotilla were reported killed and dozens wounded by Israeli forces.


Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says Turkey is withdrawing its ambassador on Monday and also calling back a youth soccer team from Israel. He equates Israel's actions with "piracy." He rules out deploying Turkish warships in the Mediterranean but severely condemns Israel.


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Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan cut short an official visit to Latin America to return to Turkey due to the diplomatic crisis with Israel, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.


Of the raid on the Gaza aid ships, Davutoglu said, "No one has the right to do this, no one is above the law."


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, currently in Canada, has also decided to cut his trip short and return to Israel following the fatal incident.


Israelis warned against visiting Turkey

Meanwhile, Israelis are being instructed to avoid visiting Turkey following the incident. The Counter-Terrorism Bureau on Monday issued a severe travel warning urging Israeli citizens not to travel to Turkey.


Israelis already in Turkey were instructed to remain indoors, at their place of residence or lodging, and not to travel to crowded places.


Anti-Israel protest in Turkey Monday morning (Photo: Reuters)


Monday morning saw a number of anti-Israel protests in Turkey. Dozens of demonstrators tried to storm the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul, and were stopped by police forces.


The protestors rioted, hurled stones, and shouted anti-Israel slogans.


Before the travel warning was issued, five Israeli passengers on board a Turkish Airlines flight ready to take off to Istanbul from Israel got off the plane and refused to fly with the company. As a result, the flight was delayed by some 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, an Israeli ship en route to the Turkish Riviera returned to Israel.


The Israeli ambassador in Ankara was summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, and may be sent back to Israel. It was also reported that Turkey has warned Israel against "unprecedented and inconceivable repercussions."


Turkish Jew: I've never seen such protests

Jews living in Istanbul told Ynet why Israelis should stay away from Turkey in the near future. "Thousands of protestors are flocking to the city. Even after Operation Cast Lead we didn't see such protests," an Istanbul Jew told Ynet.


The man, who works near the Israeli Embassy and witnessed the angry protests, said the demonstrators came from all parts of Turkey.


"They all have flags of Palestine and Turkey and they're all angry. There are convoys of cars with flags of Palestine. We are afraid to identify ourselves as Jews," he said. "We are keeping a low profile."


He said that the riots outside the Israeli Embassy were wild. "I have already seen anti-Israel protests. I have been living here since I was born, but I have never seen such a thing. The protestors tried to storm through the police, broke the embassy buildings and tried to break in.


"The police were forced to use water hoses to disperse the crowd. They chanted, 'We will be shahidim (martyrs)' and 'Death to Israel'. After leaving the embassy, they moved to one of the main squares here.


"There is a difficult atmosphere here. The television doesn't show the attack on the soldiers, but broadcasts the soldiers' forcible response," said the Jew, who asked to remain anonymous. "There was a difficult atmosphere during Operation Cast Lead as well, but it never reached this level. I am talking to you and fear I will be heard."


Yitzhak, a former Israeli who has been living in Istanbul for the past 15 years, told Ynet that the country's Jews have been experiencing real fear for the first time.


"I'm not in Istanbul at the moment, but my workers have told me, 'Don't come back.' That says everything. I spoke to all of my acquaintances and they are talking about horrible protests. Not all Turks share Hamas' opinions, but nonetheless, the situation has become unpleasant."


Aviel Magnezi, Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.31.10, 13:46
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