Erdogan accuses Israel of ‘genocide’ over Gaza deaths
Turkey has accused Israel of ‘state terror and genocide’ and has declared three days of national mourning after Israeli army killed at least 58 and wounded around 2700 Palestinians in Gaza.
“Israel is wreaking state terror. Israel is a terror state,” Recip Tayyip Erdogan told Turkish students during a visit in Britain’s capital, London.
“What Israel has done is a genocide. I condemn this humanitarian drama, the genocide, from whichever side it comes, Israel or America,” he added.
Thousands had earlier marched through central Istanbul to denounce the bloodshed as the US moved its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in defiance of widespread outrage in the Islamic world.
Ankara has also recalled its ambassadors to Tel Aviv and Washington for consultations, according to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag.
Turkey also called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) this week, said Bozdag, hoping it will be held on Friday.
Meanwhile, the United States has blamed Hamas for the deaths.
“The responsibility for these tragic deaths rests squarely with Hamas,” White House Spokeman Raj Shah said. “Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response.”
However, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while defending his military has said that they acted in self defence against the Islamist rulers of Gaza, Hamas.
The demonstrations, which coincided with protests against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, are part of a weeks-long movement calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the areas they were forcibly expelled from in 1948.
Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 107 Palestinians in the coastal enclave and wounded about 12,000 people.
The protest comes ahead of the annual commemorations of the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, when the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948, in a violent campaign that led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their villages.