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Israel Expels Turkish Consul in Jerusalem Amid Erdogan-Netanyahu Rift Over Gaza

© AP Photo / Gali Tibbon/Pool / Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. File photo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. File photo - Sputnik International
Netanyahu and Erdogan have been trading accusations over the violence in Gaza as the Israeli-Turkish relations have extremely escalated after the US embassy's transfer to Jerusalem.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry has announced the expulsion of the Turkish consul in Jerusalem after Ankara had asked the country's ambassador to leave. The consul was told to return to Turkey "for consultations for a period of time".

After Netanyahu slammed the Turkish president as a "Hamas supporter" earlier in the day, the Turkish Foreign Ministry reportedly advised the Israeli envoy to Ankara to leave the country "for some time" amid the escalated tensions over the US embassy's transfer to Jerusalem, as well as the violence in Gaza, which claimed the lives of dozens of Palestinian protesters.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz has slammed Turkey's offer to the Jewish state's ambassador as "hypocrisy." He accused the Turkish president of being the "the biggest instigator, the henchman of the Muslim Brotherhood, the accomplice of Hamas and Iran, the most ardent supporter of terror in the world."

"Hands in Blood"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has struck back at the Turkish president, describing him as "a person who sends thousands of Turkish soldiers to support the occupation of Northern Cyprus and invades Syria."

"The person, whose hands are in blood of countless Kurdish victims in Turkey in Syria should be the last one to preach sermons about military ethics," Netanyahu said on Twitter, adding that the Israeli authorities were defending the country from Hamas' attacks.

Earlier in the day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also taken to Twitter to lambast Netanyahu as "the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people's lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions."

He has also alleged that the Israeli prime minister "has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can't cover up crimes by attacking Turkey."

Netanyahu Slams Erdogan as 'Hamas Supporter'

Earlier in the day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter as "one of the biggest supporters of Hamas," thus, responding to criticism over the protests in Gaza.

"I advise Erdogan against teaching us morality," Netanyahu stated.

READ MORE: Turkey Urges Muslim States to Review Ties With Israel Amid Gaza Violence

The statement came shortly after Erdogan said that Ankara had decided to withdraw its ambassadors in Washington and Tel Aviv in connection with Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip, where at least 59 Palestinians were earlier killed in clashes with the Israeli forces.

"Turkey will react to this harshly. We have withdrawn our ambassadors from Washington and Tel Aviv for consultations […]. We also propose to convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. We will hold talks with many leaders and we are declaring a three-day national mourning starting tomorrow," Erdogan said.

He also lambasted Israel as a "terrorist state," describing its actions against the Palestinians as genocide.

READ MORE: Over 250 Children Shot With Live Bullets in Gaza Protests Since March — Charity

Palestinian students from Birzeit University clash with Israeli security forces outside the Israeli-run Ofer prison in the West Bank village of Betunia on August 3, 2016 - Sputnik International
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He was echoed by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who called on Muslim countries to reconsider their ties with Israel in the wake of the violence in Gaza.

The developments come amid a ceremony to open the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, which was initially announced in December and caused mass protests and condemnation in Muslim countries, as well as criticism of the states backing the two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reacting to Monday's opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, Ankara criticized the US administration's "legally null and void" decision and blamed it for "violating international law and all relevant UN Resolutions."

Earlier, Turkey put a UN Security Council resolution condemning the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem on the UN General Assembly's table after Washington blocked the document.  The resolution was adopted by a 128-9 vote, with 35 abstentions. The document urged UN members to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem, which remains the main bone of contention in the relation between Israel and Palestine.

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