In a fiery speech, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of committing “genocide” and waging “terrorism” against the Palestinian people as protesters attacked the Israeli embassy and consulate in Ankara and Istanbul, forcing Israel to scale down its embassy staff.
“[Israel] has never pretended to be pro-peace. It has always tormented [the Palestinian people] and today it is continuing to do so,” Erdogan said Friday, referring to the recent deaths of four Palestinian children who were reportedly killed on a Gaza beach, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Erdogan also dismissed the possibility of working with Israel in the future.
“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 said.
Pro-Palestinian protestors, including members of Erdogan’s AKP party, chanted “Murderer Israel, get out of Palestine” and “Strike, strike Hamas; strike against Israel” outside of the Israeli consulate in Istanbul. Later, the protesters smashed the consulate’s windows with stones and attempted to enter the building before police forced them to disperse.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the attacks were a “blatant breach of diplomatic regulations,” and announced it was scaling back its delegation to Turkey.