Israel expels Turkish consul in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Israel on Tuesday ordered the Turkish consul to Jerusalem to temporarily leave the country after Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador to protest the killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish consul, Husnu Gurcan Turkoglu, and instructed him to return to his country "for consultations for a while."
The Turkish consulate in Jerusalem deals with ties with the Palestinians.
On Monday, Turkey called back its own ambassador to Israel before it expelled the Israeli Ambassador to Ankara, Eitan Nae, on Tuesday.
The move was among the strongest responses to the killing of at least 60 Palestinians, including minors, during protests along the fence separating between the besieged Palestinian enclave and Israel on Monday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged blows as Erdogan said Netanyahu heads an "apartheid state" and Netanyahu accused him of supporting "terror."
The ties between Israel and Turkey were greatly strained over the past years, particularly over the Israeli occupation of West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The relations were cut in 2010, after Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara, a Gaza-bound solidarity ship, and killed nine passengers.
In 2016, the ties were normalized with a rapprochement agreement after Netanyahu apologized for the incident.
The protesters in Gaza protest the crippling blockade that Israel has been imposing on them since 2007, and the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. The protests also mark the day of the Nakba, or "the day of the catastrophe," when some 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes to become refugees in 1948.