JEURSALEM (JTA) — Twenty Turkish students were arrested after they bombarded the car of Israel’s ambassador to Turkey with eggs.
Gabi Levy had arrived to deliver a lecture at the Karadeniz Teknik University in the Black Sea port of Trabzon when he was confronted with Wednesday’s protest.
The university students, who were reportedly protesting Israel’s military offensive in Gaza last winter, shouted "Israel is a murderer," the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Yossi Levy, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, told the Israeli Web site Ynet that the attack was "nonsense." He told Ynet that the ambassador attended his scheduled meetings, though Hurriyet reported that Levy left the scene without getting out of the car.
"Protest and hostile reactions do not scare us. The perpetrators’ objective was to prevent our delegation from touring the area and deliver Israel’s message to the local population, but we will not allow that to stop us," the spokesman told Ynet.
During a visit by Levy on Tuesday, a local Turkish mayor in a nearby town condemned Israel’s "policies of expansion and occupation" and said that self-defense should not involve "killing children," according to Hurriyet.
Rize Mayor Halil Bakirci also told Levy he was concerned about Israeli tourists in Turkey, saying, "Due to Israel’s policies, we are worried that something undesirable may happen to those tourists and we do our best so that it does not."
Israel-Turkey relations have grown tense since the Gaza war, with Turkey taking the lead in some international forums in demanding that Israel be held accountable for alleged war crimes.
Last month Turkey prevented Israel from joining a NATO-alliance military exercise that ultimately was cancelled due to Israel’s exclusion.