Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen

Israel Recalls Diplomats from Turkey after Erdogan’s ‘Grave’ Statements


By Ezgi Akin

ISTANBUL (Al-Monitor) — Israel announced on October 28 that it was recalling its diplomats in Turkey for consultations in protest of “grave” statements from Turkish government officials concerning the Israel-Hamas war.

“Given the grave statements coming from Turkey, I have ordered the return of diplomatic representatives there in order to conduct a reevaluation of the relations between Israel and Turkey,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen wrote on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Speaking at a pro-Palestine rally in Istanbul earlier on October 28, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel a “war criminal” over its attacks on the Gaza Strip, reiterating that his country doesn’t consider Hamas a terror organization.

“Israel has been openly committing war crimes for 22 days,” Erdogan told the crowd of tens of thousands. “We will tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal. We are making preparations for this. We will declare Israel a war criminal,” he added.

Abandoning his previously cautious tone vis-a-vis the Jewish state, earlier this week Erdogan described Hamas as a liberation group fighting to defend Palestinian lands and announced that he had canceled his plans to visit Israel.

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Israel had already evacuated all of its diplomats in Turkey earlier this month, but their departure was linked to security concerns amid ongoing anti-Israel protests in the country.

Cohen’s announcement marks a backsliding in Turkish-Israeli relations after the two countries fully restored diplomatic ties last year following more than a decade of bilateral antagonism. Israel and Turkey had reappointed ambassadors to their respective capitals, fully normalizing relations last fall as part of Ankara’s efforts to mend ties with its former regional rivals over the past two years.

Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held their first ever official meeting last month in New York, as their previous terms in office were marked by heightened troubles regarding differences over the Palestinian issue.

The Israeli diplomatic protest also coincided with celebrations underway for the Turkish Republic’s centennial anniversary.


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