Israel pulls diplomats out of Turkey amid protest over Gaza

Israel pulls diplomats out of Turkey amid protest over Gaza
Fri Jul 18, 2014 16:34:54

Israel decided Friday to pull some of its diplomatic staff out of Turkey in the wake of violent protests targeting the buildings of its embassy and consulate in Ankara and Istanbul, an embassy spokesman said.

"Foreign Minister (Avigdor) Lieberman issued a statement... following the demonstrations and instructed the Israeli consulate and embassy to reduce their diplomatic staff in Turkey," the spokesman told AFP, without stating the numbers concerned.

The spokesman emphasized that the Israeli representation in Turkey would not be completely shut down but would be reduced to minimum staffing. The measure also includes the diplomats' families, he added.

The Israeli foreign ministry also accused Turkey's security officials of failing to prevent the violence, he noted.

Thousands of protesters attacked the Israeli consulate in Istanbul while similar numbers sought to break into the residence of the ambassador in Ankara to condemn Israeli massacre in Gaza.

The crowds in Istanbul, waving Palestinian flags, hurled stones and smashed the windows of the consulate in the upscale Levent district to denounce the Israeli military operations that have left around 300 Palestinians dead and thousands injured.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also stepped up his vehement criticism of the Israeli actions in Gaza, accusing the Zionist regime of seeking to carry out a "systematic genocide" of Palestinians.

He has ruled out any rapprochement as long the Gaza assaults continued.


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