Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said that the Israeli and Egyptian governments prevented Turkish aircraft to transport injured persons from the Gaza Strip to Turkey.
He pointed out that Turkey is seeking to engage the World Health Organization to put pressure on the Israeli government in order to get permission to land.
Akdag was speekingat Ercan International Airport in the Turkish Cyprus during an official visit. He added that under the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Ankara demanded to bring the injured from Gaza to be treated in Turkey. He asserted:
“The Chief of Staff and the Directorate of Emergency Affairs sent aircraft for this purpose, and the Ministry of Health staff are ready and waiting for permission. However, the Israeli and the Egyptian governments have not allowed our planes to land so far. Turkish Foreign Ministry seeks to resolve the issue.”
“I called the head of the World Health Organization and asked for support, similar to what they have done in the 2014 crisis when they put pressure on them,” he said.
These developments came as Al-Jazeera correspondent reported that the Turkish Foreign Ministry asked the Israeli consul in Istanbul to temporarily leave the country. The move came in response to Israel’s expulsion of the Turkish consul in Jerusalem yesterday.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry called yesterday the Israeli ambassador in Ankara, and informed him of Ankara’s official protest on the events in Gaza two days ago. Turkey asked the Israeli ambassador to leave the country for an unspecified period.
On the other hand, the Israeli Foreign Ministry asked the Turkish Consul in Jerusalem to leave Israel in response to the Turkish move. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attacked the Turkish president after his statements which criticized Israeli practices in Gaza.
Netanyahu posted on Twitter: “Erdogan is a big supporter of Hamas. He understands well terrorism and slaughter and he should not preach morality to Israel,”
Erdogan is among Hamas's biggest supporters and there is no doubt that he well understands terrorism and slaughter. I suggest that he not preach morality to us
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) May 15, 2018
In a statement before his meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London, Erdogan said that Netanyahu’s hands are stained with Palestinians’ blood, and he cannot cover it up by attacking Turkey. He added that Netanyahu is the prime minister of a racist state which occupies the land of an unarmed people, violating UN resolutions for more than 60 years.