After violent protests against Israel’s military operation in Gaza erupted outside the Israeli embassy in Istanbul and the Israeli ambassador’s home in Ankara on Thursday, Israel announced that it would be removing most of its diplomatic staff from the country, the Times of Israel reports.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, meanwhile, accused Israel of state terrorism and genocide. “Israel threatens world peace. Israel threatens peace in the Middle East. Therefore, I personally, can never contemplate anything positive with Israel as long as I remain on duty,” he told reporters.
Demonstrators held signs with slogans like “God damns Israel” and “Killer Israel,” and a group set a Star of David on fire during one of the protests.
The Times of Israel reports:
Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons to halt the protests in Istanbul in the early hours of the morning, but in Ankara they stood on the sidelines.
The crowds in Istanbul, waving Palestinian flags, hurled stones and smashed the windows of the consulate in the upscale Levent district to denounce the Israeli military operation
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman issued a statement Thursday saying, “It was decided to reduce our diplomatic representation in the country to a possible minimum.”