Turkey urges Islamic world to review Israel ties, calls summit

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (AP)
Updated 15 May 2018
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Turkey urges Islamic world to review Israel ties, calls summit

ANKARA: Turkey on Tuesday urged Islamic countries to review their ties with Israel and said it would call an extraordinary summit of the world’s main pan-Islamic body after dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza border.
Ankara has reacted with fury to the killing Monday of 59 Palestinians in clashes and protests, on the same day as the United States formally moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in defiance of international outrage.
“Islamic countries should without fail review their relations with Israel,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told his ruling party in parliament.
“The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre,” he added.
Yildirim said that Turkey had called an “extraordinary summit” of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the body.
It was not immediately clear what format the meeting would take or who might attend.
A Turkish foreign ministry official, who asked not to be named, said there was to be “a summit in Istanbul on Friday.”
Yildirim said that after the summit at 3:00 p.m. (1200 GMT) a giant rally would be held at the vast Yenikapi meeting area in Istanbul under the slogan of “Stop the Oppression” to express solidarity with the Palestinians.
“This has nothing to do with party politics. This is to show solidarity, brotherhood and togetherness,” he said.
“The Islamic world should move as one, with one voice, against this massacre,” added Yildirim.
Erdogan regards himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause and last year hosted an OIC summit in Istanbul to denounce US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The summit declared East Jerusalem — which the international community regards as annexed by Israel — “as the capital of the State of Palestine” and urged the world to follow suit.
However Turkey also maintains full trade and diplomatic links with the Jewish state after a 2016 reconciliation deal ended a dispute over the deadly storming of a Turkish ship by Israeli commandos.
Ankara on Monday said it was recalling its ambassadors to the United States and Israel for consultations in the wake of the events.


Israel hits more Hamas targets after cross-border raid

Updated 20 sec ago
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Israel hits more Hamas targets after cross-border raid

JERUSALEM: Israeli warplanes blasted Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday in a fresh round of retaliation after a Palestinian cross-border raid the day before, the army said.
“Israel Air Force aircraft struck an underground terror infrastructure belonging to the Hamas terror organization in the northern Gaza Strip, and two additional military targets belonging to the Hamas terror organization’s naval force,” a military statement said in English.
“The strikes were conducted in response to the event that took place yesterday morning, during which a number of terrorists infiltrated into Israel and set a military post on fire,” it said.
An Israeli tank fired at a Hamas position Tuesday after Gazans broke through the border fence and torched an unmanned military position.
There were no reports of casualties from Wednesday’s strikes, one of which set a boat alight in the Gaza City fishing port.
Tensions between Israel and Gaza have spiralled since March 30, when Palestinians began protesting for the right to return to the homes their families fled or were expelled from in 1948, during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.
A total of at least 118 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since then, according to authorities in Gaza, which is run by the Islamist movement Hamas.
No Israelis have been killed during that time.
The protests peaked on May 14, the day the United States moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Tens of thousands protested on the Gaza border that day, with 62 killed by Israeli gunfire.
Israel says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop mass infiltrations from the territory.
It accuses Hamas, with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out violence.