Report: Israel to downsize mission to Turkey following riots


(JTA) — Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman ordered non-essential ministry personnel serving in Turkey to return to Israel following an attack by rioters on Israel’s consulate in Istanbul, Israeli media reported.

Liberman issued the order to the diplomats and their families Friday, according to the Haaretz report and Israel radio, after anti-Israel protesters in Istanbul broke into the compound of Israel’s consulate, shattering some its windows before riot police dispersed them.

Liberman also accused Turkish authorities of not doing enough to protect the diplomats, describing the events as “a blatant violation of diplomatic rules and the Vienna Convention which requires countries to provide protection to foreign diplomats serving on their territory.”

The protest in Istanbul started at 1:30 a.m. Thursday in front of the Israeli consulate in the Levent neighborhood, the online edition of the Hurriyet Daily reported.

Demonstrators at the consulate waved Turkish and Palestinian flags, chanting slogans such as “Hail to the resistance from Istanbul to Gaza,” “Murderer Israel, get out of Palestine” and “Strike, strike Hamas; strike against Israel.”

An hour into the rally, a number of protesters climbed the consulate wall and pelted the building’s windows with stones and other objects. When police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd, the protesters began hurling objects at police.

Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had accused Israel of perpetrating a “systematic genocide” against Palestinians.

“Since 1948, we have been witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every day and every month,” he said in a speech. “But above all we are witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every Ramadan.” Israel was established in 1948.

Officials from the AKP ruling party were involved in organizing the protest in Istanbul, the daily reported.

Yeni Akit, a daily associated with the AKP, has run editorials and columns attacking Turkish Jews for defending Israel.

The protesters gathered outside the consulate to protest Israel’s incursion into Gaza and its aerial attack on Hamas in response to Hamas’ rocket fire on Israel. More than 200 Palestinians and two Israelis have been killed since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8.

Across Europe, protest rallies against Israel’s actions featured anti-Semitic slogans and resulted in rioting, including a massive street brawl outside a besieged Paris synagogue on July 13.

In Amsterdam, four people were arrested Thursday for using Nazi symbols and making Nazi references at an anti-Israel demonstration.

Two of the people arrested performed the Nazi salute while two others were taken into custody for using the word “Nazi,” the De Telegraaf daily reported Thursday.

The demonstration of a few dozen people coincided with a larger pro-Israel rally organized by the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel.

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