Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Saturday, October 28, ordered the withdrawal of Israeli diplomats from Turkey following statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a rally in support of the Palestinian National Authority.
“Against the backdrop of harsh statements made by Turkey, I have ordered the return of diplomatic representatives there to reassess Israeli-Turkish relations,” Cohen wrote on social media X (formerly Twitter). The Israeli Embassy in Turkey simultaneously posted an image on its X page with the caption in Turkish: “Hamas is a terrorist organization.”
Earlier in the day, Erdogan took part in a massive pro-Palestinian rally that took place at Istanbul Ataturk Airport. Speaking from the podium, the head of state said that Turkey intends to declare Israel a “war criminal” in connection with actions in the Gaza Strip.
“Israel has been openly committing war crimes for 22 days now. We will declare Israel a war criminal in front of the whole world,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency. The Turkish leader noted that “those who shed crocodile tears for civilians dying in the Ukrainian-Russian war are silently watching the death of thousands of innocent children in Gaza.”
According to Erdogan, Western countries are responsible for what is happening in the Gaza Strip. He called Israel an “occupier” of the Palestinian territories and a “pawn in the region that will be sacrificed” when the time comes.