Ankara has decided to recall its ambassador to Israel and cut off contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to Israel’s refusal to consider a ceasefire in Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the announcement during a flight from Kazakhstan on Saturday, stating that Netanyahu is no longer someone they can talk to and that they have given up on him. The Turkish Foreign Ministry also confirmed the recall of its ambassador, citing Israel’s continuous attacks on civilians in Gaza and its refusal to agree to a ceasefire as reasons for the decision.
President Erdogan further expressed his country’s discontent with Israel’s actions by stating that completely severing ties is not possible in international diplomacy but stressed that they will not tolerate the ongoing bloodshed in Gaza. He revealed that Turkish Intelligence Agency chief Ibrahim Kalin is leading negotiations with both Israel and Hamas. Erdogan also mentioned that Turkey is willing to act as a guarantor if a peace agreement is reached between Israel and Palestine, and that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will gather in Riyadh later in the month to discuss a possible ceasefire.
The Turkish leader voiced his disappointment with the international response to the situation in Gaza, particularly that of the United States. He expressed his concerns that the whole West, including America, is currently siding with Israel and cannot be trusted to impartially consider the Palestinians. Erdogan emphasized that his government is working on formulas for a lasting peace, including making Gaza part of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Meanwhile, Erdogan accused Netanyahu of being primarily responsible for the violence and losing the support of his own citizens. He called on Netanyahu to take a step back and put an end to the current situation. The Turkish president had previously canceled his plans to travel to Israel, claiming that he had been mistreated by Netanyahu and strongly condemning the Israel Defense Forces’ actions in Gaza, describing them as inhuman.
On the other hand, Netanyahu has rejected international pleas for a humanitarian pause in the bombardment of Gaza, insisting that all hostages must be returned first. The ongoing conflict has resulted in a high number of casualties, with over 9,400 Palestinians killed, including many children, since the Israeli bombardment began as a response to Hamas’ attack on October 7.
The relationship between Israel and Turkey has been strained for some time, with Turkey openly criticizing Israel’s actions in Gaza. Israel had previously withdrawn its diplomats from Turkey, claiming security reasons, and announced that it was re-evaluating its relationship with the country.
As the situation in Gaza persists, the international community continues to monitor developments and call for an end to the violence. The recall of Turkey’s ambassador and the cutting off of contact with Netanyahu by President Erdogan are significant steps that further escalate tensions between the two countries. The upcoming meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation will provide an opportunity for discussions on a ceasefire and potential diplomatic solutions to the crisis.