Staffers were previously recalled from several Middle Eastern states over security concerns
Israel has withdrawn its diplomats from Türkiye amid fears of violent reprisals related to ongoing fighting in Gaza, multiple media outlets reported. The move follows a series of heated pro-Palestine rallies in Türkiye this week, some of which ended in clashes.
The decision was made as a safety precaution due to soaring tensions in the Middle East, an unnamed Israeli official told AFP on Thursday. Two Turkish officials also noted the pull-out in comments to the Times of Israel, which stressed that the withdrawal was “not political” and solely out of security concerns.
Just one day earlier, the Israeli government urged its citizens to leave Türkiye “immediately” over similar fears following chaotic protests at Israel’s Istanbul consulate and Ankara embassy. The rallies were held soon after a Palestinian hospital in Gaza was hit during a missile or rocket strike, for which officials on both sides have traded blame. The blast killed hundreds of people, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
The protest outside the consulate eventually erupted into chaos, with some demonstrators hurling stones, launching fireworks and even attempting to burn down the facility. Police deployed water cannons and pepper spray to disperse the angry crowd.
Some demonstrators also reportedly attempted to storm the Ankara residence of Israeli ambassador Irit Lillian. The envoy and her staff had safely evacuated as of Thursday, according to the two Turkish officials.
Similar protests have broken out in cities across the Middle East, with pro-Palestine rallies held in Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Kuwait and elsewhere.
Israel has evacuated diplomatic staff from multiple countries this week, with employees in Morocco and Egypt also called home on Wednesday. Its embassies in Jordan and Bahrain were cleared out in recent days, according to Israeli broadcaster Kan.
You can share this story on social media: