Türkiye recalls Israel ambassador

The last spat of such magnitude was in May 2018, when Erdogan posted on the social media platform X that Hamas was not a terrorist organization.
Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. (Photo: Designed by AFP)
Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. (Photo: Designed by AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Türkiye (Turkey) has recalled its ambassador to Israel, Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, in a tit for tat move following Israel's decision last week to recall its envoy to Türkiye, because of Erdogan's description of Hamas as freedom fighters.

“In view of the unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Gaza caused by the continuing attacks by Israel against civilians, and Israel’s refusal of calls for ceasefire and continuous and unhindered flow of humanitarian aid, it was decided to recall our Ambassador in Tel Aviv, H.E. Mr. Şakir Özkan Torunlar, to Ankara for consultations,” Türkiye’s foreign ministry announced in a statement.

This latest diplomatic spat is a microcosm of an uneasy relationship that has lasted decades, with tensions escalating in recent years during the tenure of Erdogan. 

The last spat of such magnitude was in May 2018, when Erdogan posted on X that Hamas is not a terrorist organization.

Netanyahu took such offense to this remark, that he resorted to double-standards and whataboutism, and responded "A man whose hands are stained with the blood of countless Kurdish citizens in Turkey (Türkiye) and Syria is the last one who can preach to us about combat ethics.”

Netanyahu has made similar pro-Kurdish remarks, such as in Oct. 2019, when the Turks invaded northern Syria, alleging the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), widely recognized as a terrorist organization by the West.

Netanyahu then again criticized Erdogan, saying “Israel strongly condemns the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish areas in Syria and warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds by Turkey (Türkiye) and its proxies,” while further noting, “Israel is prepared to extend humanitarian assistance to the gallant Kurdish people.”

But the ultimate catalyst resulting in the utter hatred between these two military powerhouses goes back to May 2010, when 10 Turks were killed by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) during a raid on a Turkish flotilla providing humanitarian supplies to Gaza. This incident essentially severed ties between the two countries for the next five years.

And it has never been the same since.

Yet blaming this spat on Erdogan’s remarks is oversimplifying something much bigger. That was made apparent on Oct. 29 in Istanbul, when the largest pro-Palestinian protest in recorded history took place. There, 1.5 million Turks attended to show solidarity with Palestine, albeit the event "officially" marked the country's centenary of existence.