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Turkey recalls ambassador to Israel ahead of Blinken’s visit

While Turkey and Israel’s recalling of their respective ambassadors marks a serious setback for a diplomatic reset, the Turkish president said Saturday that cutting off diplomatic ties with Israel was “out of the question.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wears a scarf with both Turkish and Palestinian flags as he addresses a rally organised by the AKP party in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, in Istanbul on October 28, 2023.

ANKARA — Turkey on Saturday announced it was recalling its ambassador to Israel for consultations amid the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip and deepening humanitarian crisis in the enclave. The move spells a serious setback for diplomatic relations between the two countries that were largely restored last fall when they exchanged respective ambassadors after a four-year hiatus. 

“In view of the unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Gaza caused by the continuing attacks by Israel against civilians, and Israel’s refusal of calls for a cease-fire and continuous and unhindered flow of humanitarian aid, it was decided to recall our ambassador in Tel Aviv,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Israel's Foreign Ministry issued a response on Saturday night, saying Ankara's decision marked "another step [by the Turkish president] to side with the terrorist organization Hamas." 

Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, Turkey’s ambassador to Israel, arrived in Israel in November 2022 after the two countries decided to fully restore diplomatic ties following a freeze since 2010, when Israel raided an aid ship headed to Gaza, resulting in 10 Turkish deaths. 

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