Israel has taken the precautionary measure of withdrawing its diplomats from Türkiye (Turkey) due to concerns of violent reprisals stemming from the ongoing conflict in Gaza, according to multiple media outlets. The decision comes in response to a series of intense pro-Palestine demonstrations in Türkiye that have resulted in clashes.
The withdrawal of Israeli diplomats from Türkiye is not politically motivated but is solely driven by security concerns, emphasized two Turkish officials in comments to the Times of Israel. An unnamed Israeli official also confirmed the decision, stating that it was made as a safety precaution due to the escalating tensions in the Middle East.
These safety concerns prompted the Israeli government to urge its citizens to leave Türkiye immediately, just one day prior to the withdrawal of diplomats. This warning came after chaotic protests erupted at Israel’s Istanbul consulate and Ankara embassy. The demonstrations were sparked by a missile or rocket strike that hit a Palestinian hospital in Gaza, resulting in numerous casualties. Both sides have traded blame for the incident.
During the protest outside the consulate, the situation turned chaotic, with some demonstrators hurling stones, launching fireworks, and attempting to set fire to the facility. Law enforcement authorities used water cannons and pepper spray to disperse the angry crowd. Additionally, reports indicate that some protesters tried to storm the Ankara residence of Israeli ambassador Irit Lillian. However, she and her staff had already been safely evacuated by Thursday, as confirmed by the two Turkish officials.
Similar pro-Palestine rallies have taken place across the Middle East, with demonstrations occurring in Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Kuwait, and other countries.
In addition to Türkiye, Israel has also evacuated its diplomatic staff from Morocco and Egypt this week. Its embassies in Jordan and Bahrain were also cleared out recently, according to Israeli broadcaster Kan.
The tense situation in the Middle East has prompted these precautionary measures, as both sides continue to exchange blame and the fighting in Gaza shows no signs of abating. Israel’s priority is ensuring the safety of its citizens and diplomatic personnel, given the rise in tensions and the potential for violent reprisals.
By withdrawing its diplomats from Türkiye and other Middle Eastern countries, Israel aims to mitigate potential risks and protect its personnel from harm. However, it is important to note that these measures are motivated solely by security concerns and should not be interpreted as a political statement or change in Israel’s diplomatic relations with Türkiye or other nations in the region.