May 16 2018

Turkey expels Israeli consul general on Gaza killings

Turkey expelled Israel’s consul general in Istanbul in protest at the killing of Palestinian protesters on Israel’s border with Gaza this week, Sabah newspaper reported.

The decision was made after discussions with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, the newspaper said. It wasn’t immediately clear when the Israeli official might be allowed to return, it said.

Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador to Ankara on Tuesday, prompting a reciprocal act from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which barred Turkey’s consul general in Jerusalem.

Turkey has announced three days of mourning for the at least 64 Palestinians killed. Ankara has also called on the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) and the United Nations to act over the incident, in which more than 2,700 were wounded.

On Tuesday, Erdoğan said Netanyahu had "blood on his hands", labelling Israel an Apartheid state and calling on Netanyahu to read the Ten Commandments.

For weeks, infuriated by U.S. plans to open an embassy in Jerusalem, 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 this week and explicit recognition of Israel’s claim to the city, which also serves as the capital of Palestine, has heightened tensions.