Israel Expels Turkey Envoy After Ankara Ousts Israeli Ambassador Over Gaza Deaths

Israel expelled the Turkish consul in Jerusalem hours after the Israeli ambassador to Turkey was expelled on Tuesday over the violent demonstrations which claimed the lives of 60 Palestinians by Israeli gunfire in protests along the Gaza border on Monday.

Israel’s official statement to Turkey on the expulsion of the Turkish consul, Husnu Gurcan Turkoglu, was identical to an earlier statement sent by Turkey to Israel to oust ambassador Eitan Naeh.

Meanwhile, Belgium summoned the Israeli ambassador, Simona Frankel, to a meeting on Wednesday with a senior official of the Foreign Ministry as diplomatic fallout from Gaza deadly clashes continue. Belgium’s prime minister on Monday called for an international probe of the events in Gaza while linking the violence to the relocation of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

– Noa Landau’s Twitter

Breaking: #Israel expels the Turkish consul in #Jerusalem (the Turkish ambassador recalled yesterday, the Israeli ambassador to Turkey expelled earlier today)

— Noa Landau (@noa_landau) May 15, 2018

The Irish government also summoned the Israeli ambassador, Zeev Boker, to express its shock and dismay over the Gaza deaths, the Irish Times reported Tuesday. Ireland has called for an independent UN investigation.

Israeli ambassador to Turkey Eitan Naeh at the presidential Complex in Ankara, December 5, 2016.ADEM ALTAN/AFP

On Monday, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel due to the death toll in Gaza. "The South Africa government condemns in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border," the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.

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Other countries, including France and Germany, have condemned Israel’s reaction to Monday’s protests. Australia, on the other hand, has blamed Hamas for "confrontational" conduct.

Turkey on Monday recalled its ambassadors in Israel and the United States for consultations over the death toll in Gaza. 

– From Erdogan’s Twitter

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 commandments.

— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RT_Erdogan) May 15, 2018

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that "Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state…He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can’t cover up crimes by attacking Turkey."

In September 2011, Turkey downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel, recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv and expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara in response to a UN inquiry that stated that Israel has not violated international law when it took control of the 2010 Gaza flotilla.

Five years later, in 2016, Israel transferred $20 million to a humanitarian fund set up by the Turkish government in a reconciliation deal between the two countries. The fund was set up by the Turkish government from which compensation would be paid to the Turkish victims’ families.

– Bennett Tweet

ארדואן ספוג בטרור חמאסי מכף רגלו ועד ראשו.
היתה זו שגיאה חמורה בזמנו לחתום מולו על הסכם פיצויים בעשרות מיליוני דולרים בעקבות המרמרה.
בזמן אמת אמרתי שהוא ישוב לעקוץ אותנו , ואף הצבעתי נגד אותו הסכם מביש, שלצערי עבר בקבינט.>>

— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) May 15, 2018

At the same time, Turkey approved the reconciliation agreement in a parliamentary vote in Ankara and made it a law. As part of the agreement, it was decided that all the suits filed in Turkey against Israeli soldiers and officers involved in the takeover of the Gaza flotilla would be dropped. After five years without an ambassador, Naeh was appointed to the post in October 2015.

Minister Bennett: ‘Erdogan is soaked in Hamas terrorism from head to toe’

Education Ministry Naftali Bennett denounced the Turkish president in response to the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

"Erdogan is soaked in Hamas terrorism from head to toe. It was a grave mistake at the time to sign a compensation for tens of millions of dollars in the wake of the Mavi Marmara," referring to the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid. Bennett noted that he voted against the reconciliation agreement in 2016 and posted a three-point plan of action for "the Knesset, government and the Israeli public."

"I turn to the speaker of the Knesset to approve the official recognition by  Israel of the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Turkey," Bennett said. "I submitted a request to the prime minister to discuss the recognition of the right of the Kurdish minority in Syria and beyond recognition and autonomy," he added, calling on the Israeli public "to cancel trips to Turkey, immediately. 

Tzipi Livni, a member of the Israeli opposition, condemned the news on Turkey, calling on "Erdogan and the rest of the world not to be confused – Israel left Gaza and left a border behind it."