Turkey and Israel each expelled the other country’s high-ranking diplomats on Tuesday because of a dispute over the killing of 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces on the Gaza Strip during protests against the moving of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.
According to Reuters, the Turkish leadership ordered Israeli ambassadors to leave the country.
“Turkey was one of the loudest critics of both Israel’s reaction to protests in the Gaza Strip and the moving of the U.S. Embassy. It recalled its ambassadors from Tel Aviv and Washington and urged Muslim countries to hold an emergency meeting on Friday,” the news agency reported.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called the bloodshed on Monday genocide and said that Israel is a terrorist state. The Turkish government proclaimed a three-day period of mourning. “The Israeli ambassador was informed that our ambassador in Israel was recalled for consultation, and also informed that it would be better for him to return to his country for some time too,” a source in the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the agency.
A few hours later, Israel decided to temporarily expel the Turkish consul in Jerusalem. According to a representative of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Turkish diplomat was asked to return to Turkey “for some period of time for consultations.”
Clashes between the Palestinians and Israelis took place against the backdrop of the opening of the American embassy in Jerusalem. Since March, Palestinian protests have been held in the Gaza Strip under the name of the “Great March of Return.” Protesters are demanding the right to return to the territory of Israel.
According to the Palestinians, the moving of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem indicates that the United States recognizes that both the Western and Eastern parts of the city belong to Israel, which the Palestinian authorities consider its territory. Monday was the bloodiest day of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2014.