Turkey has told the Israeli ambassador to the country to temporarily leave in protest of the situation in Gaza, which saw nearly 60 Palestinian rioters killed by Israeli forces on Monday.
Ambassador Eitan Naeh was summoned to the foreign ministry and told to “return to his country for a period of time,” said a Turkish foreign ministry official, AFP reported.
Turkey has also recalled its ambassadors to Israel and the United States over the Gaza situation.
Naeh had been serving in his post since December 2016, following a reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey stemming from a break down in relations due to the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident.
At the same time, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also lashed out at Israel, accusing the country of being a “terror state” that has committed “a genocide.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded on Tuesday, calling Erdoğan, who has long supported Hamas, of himself being involved in “terrorism and slaughter.”
Erdoğan then responded again, saying that Netanyahu leads an “apartheid state.”
“Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people’s lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions,” Erdoğan wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can’t cover up crimes by attacking Turkey.”
Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett also responded to the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and Erdoğan’s comments by blasting the compensation deal with Turkey over the Mavi Marmara incident and calling for the recognition of the Armenian genocide.
“Erdoğan is soaked with Hamas terror from head to toe. It was a severe mistake to sign a compensation deal with him, worth tens of millions of dollars, following the Marmara incident,” Bennett wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday.
Bennett, a member of the Security Cabinet, added: “At the time, I said he would return to hurt us, and I even voted against that shameful agreement, which unfortunately passed in the cabinet.”