Israel pulls diplomats from Turkey over Hamas support

With President Erdogan calling Israel ‘war criminals’ and saying Hamas are ‘freedom fighters’, recently renewed ties are fraying fast.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel announced Saturday that it has recalled its diplomats from Turkey over Ankara’s support for the Hamas terrorist organization, and harsh anti-Israel statements by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the last several days.

“In light of the escalating rhetoric from Turkey, I have instructed the return of diplomatic representatives from Turkey in order to reassess Israel-Turkey relations,” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a statement.

The two countries only reestablished full ties last August, after years of strain that mostly revolved around Turkey’s charges that Israel mistreated the Palestinians when it undertook military or police actions to prevent violence or terrorist attacks.

The final straw was seemingly President Erdogan’s statements at a pro-Palestinian rally in Istanbul earlier in the day, when he told hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, “Israel, we will proclaim you as a war criminal to the world.”

Calling Israel an “occupier” although it left the Gaza Strip in 2005, he added, “Of course, every country has the right to defend itself, but where is justice? There is no defense, but an open and vicious massacre going on in Gaza.”

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Israel has been bombing Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip ever since its terrorist forces invaded Gaza envelope communities October 7 and massacred 1,400 men, women, and children and wounded thousands more.

The viciousness of burning families alive, decapitating infants, and other acts that are internationally recognized as war crimes, stunned the Jewish state and led to an immediate declaration of war, with the stated objective of utterly destroying the Iranian proxy so it can no longer endanger Israel’s citizens.

Hamas has claimed that the airstrikes have killed over 7,000 people, most of them civilians. The terror group embeds its military sites in civilian areas specifically to use non-combatants as human shields, leading to inevitable civilian deaths even as Israel tries to avoid them by warning Gazans before attacking.

In an effort to save Arab civilians, the IDF told northern Gaza residents to flee to the south before it invades on the ground, which special units have begun to do, but only on a small scale until now.

On Wednesday, Erdogan had told a party meeting that Hamas was not a terrorist organization but “a liberation group” that was “waging a battle to protect its lands and people.”

He continued that line at the rally, stating, “What has been happening since last night (Friday) is nothing short of a state of madness. Despite this grim situation, the dignified, determined, and faithful stance of the people of Gaza will be recorded in history as a glorious epic of resistance.”

There have been several anti-Israel demonstrations in Turkey since the war began. The public anger over Israel’s continuing bombardment of Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip led Jerusalem to order all Israeli tourists to leave Turkey eleven days ago for their own safety. The antisemitism has also affected  the local Jewish community. Newspapers have called for their deportation, associating all its Jews with the Israeli “terror state.”