After recalling its ambassador from Israel for consultations Monday evening following turmoil on the Gaza border, Turkey expelled on Tuesday the Israeli Ambassador to Ankara. Israel then responded by summoning the Turkish Consul in Jerusalem Hüsnü Gürcan Türkoğlu to the Foreign Ministry and asking him to leave the country until further notice.
It is not yet clear whether the expulsion of the Ambassador is a temporary or permanent step in Israeli-Turkish relations.
Relations between the two countries have become especially tense in recent days.
Tuesday, Turkish opposition parties joined in too in the condemnation of Israel for its respons to the weekly protests on its border with Gaza, in which so far some 100 demostrators have been killed by IDF fire; they even called for the annulment of the reconciliation agreement signed between the two countries.
Officials at the Foreign Ministry said that “Turkey notified the ambassador to return to Israel temporarily.” Diplomatic protocol allows for a 24 hour grace period for an expelled diplomat to leave the country.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted: “Erdogan is up to his head in Hamas terror. It was a mistake to sign the compensation agreement with him which cost us tens of millions of dollars after the Mavi Marmara incident. At the time I said that it will come back to bite us, and I voted against the deal, which unfortunately was approved by the cabinet.”
Bennet added that he asked the Knesset Speaker to approve recognition of the Armenian genocide by Turkey. He also asked that the cabinet recognize the rights of Syria’s Kurdish minority. Bennett also called on Israelis to cancel their trips to Turkey and take vacations in the Golan or Galilee instead. “Israel will no longer refrain from responding to an attack on its dignity, it will guard its borders and its citizens.”
Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid said: “Israel needs to sever relations with the Erdogan regime. Not temporarily but permanently; recognize the Armenian genocide and openly assist the Kurds. We should ensure that the US employs pressure to remove Turkey from NATO. The reconciliation agreement signed by Netanyahu was a mistake. One does not reconcile with anti-Semites like Erdogan. The time has come for the government to declare what has been clear for some time: Erdogan is a link in the Islamic terror chain.”
On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke in London, calling Israel a “terror state.” He added that the attack against Gaza demonstrators “exposes Israel’s true face, committing genocide in Gaza.” In light of the events, Ankara called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The two leaders proceeded to trade barbs on Twitter. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Erdogan saying: “Erdogan is among Hamas's biggest supporters and there is no doubt that he well understands terrorism and slaughter. I suggest that he not preach morality to us.”
Erdogan is among Hamas's biggest supporters and there is no doubt that he well understands terrorism and slaughter. I suggest that he not preach morality to us— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 15, 2018
Erdogan tweeted in response: “Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people's lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions. He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can't cover up crimes by attacking Turkey. Want a lesson in humanity? Read the 10 commandment.”
Netanyahu responded: “A man who sends thousands of Turkish soldiers to occupy northern Cyprus and invades Syria, will not preach to us when we defend ourselves from an attempted invasion by Hamas. A man whose hands are stained with the blood of countless Kurdish citizens in Turkey and Syria is the last one to preach to us about combat ethics.”
A senior official said that there is no need to be surprised regarding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassadors from South Africa and Turkey as “Erdogan and the ANC are Hamas’s best friends in the world today.”
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said: “Erdogan, the big instigator, a man of the Muslim Brotherhood and a partner of Hamas and Iran–the largest terror sponsor in the world–is recalling his ambassador from Israel. There is no limit to hypocrisy. Israel will continue to defend its borders from Hamas terrorists and the Jihad trying to harm our citizens.”