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May 14, 2018 5:42 pm

Denouncing US Embassy Move to Jerusalem Alongside Gaza ‘Genocide,’ Angry Erdoğan Recalls Turkish Envoys from Israel and US

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Turkish President Erdoğan speaking at the Royal Institute for International Affairs in London. Photo: Reuters/Henry Nicholls.

Turkey recalled its ambassadors from Tel Aviv and Washington, DC on Monday, as senior officials in Ankara frenziedly accused the US and Israel of sharing the blame for the “massacre” of Palestinian rioters on the border between Gaza and Israel and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again charged Israel with committing “genocide.”

The diplomatic recalls were announced by Erdoğan on Monday evening as he prepared to fly back to Ankara from a visit to the United Kingdom. In a speech at London’s prestigious Royal Institute for International Affairs earlier in the day, the Turkish leader remarked of the American Embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, “[W]e cannot help but feel like we are living through the dark times prior to the Second World War,” going on to argue that the US had forfeited its position as a mediator in the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.

In a separate interview with state television, Erdoğan was openly contemptuous, calling Israel a “terrorist state” and alleging that “what Israel has done is a genocide.”

“We will not allow today to be the day the Muslim world loses Jerusalem,” he warned.

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An angry statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry claimed that Israeli forces had been “encouraged” to shoot Palestinians on the border on the same day as the opening of the new embassy in Jerusalem.

“We strongly condemn the decision of the US Administration to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem violating international law and all relevant UN Resolutions. We reiterate that this action is legally null and void,” the statement declared.

It underlined: “We curse the massacre carried out by Israeli security forces encouraged by this step on the Palestinians participating in peaceful demonstrations. Neither regional nor global peace and stability will be viable unless the Palestinian question is settled through a lasting and just solution and unfair treatments towards Palestinian people cease.”

In a post on Twitter, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister asserted that “The U.S. administration is just as responsible as the Israeli government for this massacre.” The killings had been caused by the “unjust and unlawful decisions” of the US administration, Deputy PM Bekir Bozdağ said.

Erdoğan said he would be calling an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday, and urged that the UN Security Council hold an emergency session in New York.

Famous for his frequent and violently worded outbursts against the State of Israel, its leaders and its military, Erdoğan was in vintage form when interviewed by BBC Arabic on Sunday. Calling Israel a “terror state,” Erdoğan charged that Jerusalem was “sowing fear and pushing the region to war.”

Closer to home, however, Erdoğan is yet to comment on the latest civil suit filed last Thursday against the Turkish government over the savage attack in May 2017 upon protesters outside the country’s Embassy in Washington, DC. The suit brings together fifteen of the protesters injured during the unprovoked assault by members of Erdoğan’s security detail during an official visit, and follows a separate action filed by five other American victims of the same assault against the Turkish government earlier this month.

Nineteen defendants, including 15 Turkish security officials, were indicted on multiple charges following the assault, which left nine protesters requiring hospital treatment. Video of the incident captured Erdoğan watching his bodyguards from a distance as they launched themselves into the protesters.

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