ANKARA — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Israel on Friday against a seemingly imminent ground invasion of Gaza as Israeli diplomats were evacuated from Turkey amid ongoing anti-Israel protests across the country.
“I reiterate our call on the Israeli government to never expand the scope of its attacks against civilians and to immediately cease its operations that amount to genocide,” Erdogan wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. The warning comes as Israel is readying for a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Irit Lillian, Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, and other Israeli diplomats left the country late Thursday, according to multiple Turkish media outlets. Earlier, Israel’s National Security Council called on its nationals to leave the country “as soon as possible,” dispatching planes to repatriate its citizens after Turkish carriers suspended their flights to Israel.
The diplomats’ departure was a temporary measure amid ongoing protests in Turkey that have seen large crowds gathered outside Israeli diplomatic missions in Istanbul and Ankara, AFP said Wednesday, citing an unnamed source. The Jewish state also pulled out its diplomats from Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain over security concerns, according to Israeli media.