May 15 2018

Turkey expels Israeli ambassador

Turkey has recalled its ambassadors to Israel and the United States and expelled the Israeli ambassador in Ankara in response to Israeli security forces killing and injuring Palestinians protesting the opening of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Qatar-based broadcaster al Jazeera said.

The United States does not presently have an ambassador to Turkey.

Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced that there would be three days of mourning in Turkey for the at least 58 Palestinians killed, and that the two ambassadors would return to Turkey for further consultation.

Ankara also called on the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) and the United Nations to act over the incident, in which 2,700 were wounded.

For weeks, Palestinians have been protesting for the right to return to areas they and their ancestors had been expelled from in 1948, when Israel was founded in territory formerly recognised as part of Transjordan.

The opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem and explicit recognition of Israel’s claim to the city, which also serves as the capital of Palestine, as its capital merely further fuelled the fire.

104 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since this round of protests began.

Turkey has had an ambassador in Tel Aviv since December 2016; previously it had removed its ambassador in the wake of a 2010 incident in which a ship belonging to a Turkish aid organisation had been raided by Israeli security forces on its way to Gaza in Palestine, killing nine activists.

South Africa also recalled its ambassador to Israel on Monday.