British Prime Minister Theresa May termed the latest developments along the Israel-Gaza border as very concerning, stressing that “such violence is destructive to peace efforts,” and called on all sides to show restraint. The British Prime Minister, during a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stressed “an urgent need to establish the facts of what happened through an independent and transparent investigation including why such a volume of live fire was used and what role Hamas played in events.” “The loss of life we have seen is tragic and extremely concerning, such violence is destructive to peace efforts and we call on all sides to show restraint. There is an urgent need to establish the facts of what happened yesterday through an independent and transparent investigation including why such a volume of live fire was used and what role Hamas played in events. Palestinians have the right to protest but these protests must be peaceful. We are concerned that extremist elements are seeking to hijack legitimate protests to further their own objectives. And while we do not question the right of Israel to protect its borders, the use of live fire and the resulting loss of life is deeply troubling – we urge Israel to show restraint,” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said.
The Turkish leader, on his part, reiterated his condemnation of Israel, terming its conduct against the Palestinians as “savagery.” “I wish for the mercy of god for all my martyr Palestinian brothers and wish speed recovery to all those injured. And I condemn this savagery in your presence again,” Turkish President Erdogan said.
In response to the Turkish rhetoric toward Israel’s measures, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement in which he said “The man who sends thousands of Turkish soldiers to maintain the occupation of northern Cyprus and invades Syria, will not preach to us when we defend ourselves against invasion by Hamas. A man whose hands are drenched in the blood of countless Kurdish civilians in Turkey and Syria is the last one who can preach to us about military ethics.” The Israeli leader further accused Erdogan of being “among Hamas’s biggest supporters and there is no doubt that he well understands terrorism and slaughter. I suggest that he not preach morality to us,” Netanyahu’s statement read.
The exchange of rhetoric between the two leaders led to a Turkish decision to expel Israel’s Ambassador to Turkey Eitan Naveh, nevertheless, officials in Jerusalem believe that this is only a temporary expulsion. In response to this move, Israel announced the expulsion of the Turkish consul in Jerusalem, which Ankara in response expelled the Israeli consul in Istanbul.
It is important to note, however, that the Israeli crisis with Turkey seems to keep a form of rhetoric rather than deteriorating into practical measures. This became apparent after the ruling AK party of President Erdogan blocked a bill submitted by an opposition party to impose sanctions on Israel and cancel agreements signed with it. President Erdogan’s party, the Justice and Development Party, refused to support the motion that was submitted by the Peoples’ Democratic Party. The decision to block the motion, however, led to a Turkish opposition figure statement, in which he claimed it as proof that the ruling party wished to continue the ties with Israel as if nothing had happened.