Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has compared Israel's policies against the Palestinians to the racism of the early days of the United States and the apartheid-era in South Africa. "What's the difference between the present acts of the Israeli administration and the racist and discriminatory politics that were practised against black people in the past in America - and up until a short time ago in South Africa," Erdogan said on Monday. Erdogan - speaking at an event in Istanbul that focused on the Middle East conflict - also cautioned the US not to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a move is "extremely wrong" and such talk should be abandoned, he said. He added the embargo on Gaza by Israel "has no place in humanity".
Turkey has recalled its ambassadors to Israel and the United States following the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces amid the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. The diplomats, currently stationed in Washington, DC and Tel Aviv, will return to Turkey for "consultations", Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday, adding that three days of national mourning had been declared in solidarity with Palestine. Ankara also called for an emergency summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to be held this week - possibly on Friday - and a UN General Assembly meeting over Israel's use of force, Bozdag added. The move came just hours after Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear gas and firebombs at Palestinians protesting along the coastal enclave's fence with Israel, killing at least 55 people and wounding more than 2,700 others. South Africa also recalled its ambassador to Israel on Monday.
A diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel following the Israeli army's killing of dozens of Palestinians is showing no signs of slowing down amid reciprocal expulsions and heated exchanges. In the latest episode, Israel protested on Wednesday over what it called Turkey's "unbecoming treatment" of its expelled ambassador, after he was shown on Turkish TV undergoing an airport security check in public view. The previous day, Turkey had summoned Ambassador Eitan Naveh to tell him it would be "appropriate" for him to return to Israel "for a while". In response, Israel ordered the Turkish representative in the country to return home for consultations. Ankara's move came as it condemned the killing of demonstrators in the Gaza Strip on Monday, as well as the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem on the same day.