Turks slam Israel, US over embassy relocation
Protestors in Istanbul hold banners reading ‘Jerusalem is Muslim’ and wave Turkish and Palestinian flags
Hundreds of people gathered in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district Monday to protest the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
The protest, themed “Speak up against occupation”, was carried out by a number of non-governmental organizations that had gathered in the city.
Protestors held banners reading "Jerusalem is Muslim" and waved Turkish and Palestinian flags.
Bulent Yildirim, head of one of the NGOs -- Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) -- said Israel had “slaughtered” peaceful Palestinian protestors in Gaza.
At least 55 Palestinian demonstrators were martyred Monday and hundreds more injured by Israeli army forces deployed along the Gaza border, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Another protest was held in the Turkish capital, Ankara, in front of the Israeli embassy.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the “humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza, describing the Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters as a “genocide”.
Earlier in the day, Turkey recalled its ambassadors in Tel Aviv and Washington for consultations, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said.
Bozdag said the Turkish government has also declared three days of mourning in solidarity with Palestine and to commemorate its martyrs.
U.S. President Donald Trump sparked an international outcry last December when he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and vowed to relocate the U.S. embassy to the city.
The relocation coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment in 1948 -- an event Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba” or the “The Catastrophe”.
Thousands of Palestinians have gathered on the Gaza Strip’s eastern border since Monday morning to take part in protests aimed at commemorating the Nakba anniversary and to protest the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.