Ankara has withdrawn its ambassador to Israel, citing the country’s refusal to consider a ceasefire in Gaza
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has cut off contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza, he told reporters on a flight home from a summit in Kazakhstan on Saturday.
“Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to. We have given up on him,” Erdogan said, according to Turkish media.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also announced on Saturday that it had recalled its ambassador to Israel, Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, “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 ceasefire and the continuous and unhindered flow of humanitarian aid.”
Erdogan stressed his country was not totally ending diplomatic relations with Israel. “Completely severing ties is not possible, especially in international diplomacy,” he said. The president further revealed that Turkish Intelligence Agency chief Ibrahim Kalin was leading negotiations with West Jerusalem and Hamas.
The Turkish leader suggested his country could play the role of guarantor if a peace agreement could be worked out between Israel and Palestine, vowing to “do whatever it takes to stop the bloodshed.” He said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation would be meeting later in the month in Riyadh to discuss a ceasefire.
Explaining that his government was working on formulas for a lasting peace, to include Gaza as part of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, Erdogan lamented, “the whole West, especially America, is currently on Israel’s side” and could not be trusted to give Palestinians fair consideration.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu was primarily responsible for the violence and had “lost the support of his own citizens,” he continued. “What he needs to do is take a step back and put an end to this situation.”
The Turkish president publicly cancelled his plans to travel to Israel last week, claiming he had been “abused” by Netanyahu and condemning the Israel Defense Forces’ actions in Gaza. “You will not find any other state whose army behaves with such inhumanity,” he said.
On Friday, Netanyahu publicly rejected the international community’s pleas for a “humanitarian pause” in order for aid to be delivered to Gaza, demanding the return of all hostages first. At least 9,488 Palestinians, over a third of them children, have been killed since Israel began bombarding the territory in response to Hamas’ surprise October 7 attack, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
Israel last month announced it was “re-evaluating” its relationship with Türkiye due to Erdogan’s vocal condemnation of Israel’s actions in Gaza and withdrew its diplomats from the country, ostensibly for security reasons.
Follow LIVE UPDATES for more information