Turkey tells Israel’s Istanbul consul to leave in escalating row

Istanbul, May 16: Turkey has told the Israeli consul general in Istanbul to leave the country temporarily, state media said today, the latest of a series of tit-for-tat expulsions in a growing crisis over Israel’s deadly firing on Palestinians on the Gaza border.
The Turkish foreign ministry has told the consul to leave Turkey “for a period of time”, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
Turkey had already withdrawn its ambassador in Tel Aviv for consultations and told the Israeli ambassador to Ankara to leave, while Israel ordered the Turkish consul in Jerusalem to leave for an unspecified period of time.
The row, which on Tuesday saw President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu exchange bitter jibes on Twitter, threatens a 2016 deal on normalising ties after a long-running crisis.
Turkey has expressed outrage over the killing by Israeli forces on Monday of 60 Palestinians on the Gaza border and also blamed tensions on the US decision to move its embassy for Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Erdogan will on Friday host an emergency summit meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul which he has said will send a “strong message to the world” on the issue.
The 2016 reconciliation deal ended a dispute over the May 2010 deadly storming of a Turkish ship by Israeli commandos that saw relations downgraded. (Agencies)