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Israel's Lieberman slams Turkey over embassy protests

July 19, 2014 4:37 A.M. (Updated: July 19, 2014 1:02 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has slammed Turkey's handling of violent anti-Israeli protests in Ankara and Istanbul, in a diplomatic spat over the assault on Gaza.

Lieberman accused Turkey of not taking the "necessary preventative measures" to stop protests getting violent after people angered by the offensive in Gaza tried to storm Israeli embassy buildings.

"Israel protests strongly against the flagrant violation of diplomatic rules by Turkish authorities and security forces during demonstrations after the inflammatory statements of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan," Lieberman said in a statement late Friday.

Israel on Friday ordered some of its diplomatic staff in Turkey to leave the country for security reasons.

Turkish protesters overnight tried to break into the ambassador's residence in Ankara as well as the consulate in Istanbul, with the diplomatic controversy over the Gaza assault risking a new crisis in relations with Turkey.

Public radio said the foreign ministry had advised Israelis against non-essential travel to Turkey.

Erdogan, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, has vehemently criticized Israeli actions in Gaza, accusing Israel of carrying out a "genocide" of Palestinians in an operation that has killed more than 300 people in the besieged Strip.

"Israel is a state which knows very well how to kill children," Erdogan said Friday.

The unrest came as President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Turkey to urge support for an Egyptian ceasefire proposal in Gaza.

Hamas, the main power in the Gaza Strip, rejected an initial ceasefire proposal Tuesday by Egypt, which is ruled by a regime hostile to the Islamist movement.

Erdogan has ruled out any improvement in troubled ties with Israel as long as he remained in power.

Erdogan on Friday also slammed Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as an illegitimate tyrant, saying Cairo could not be relied upon to negotiate a truce with Israel.

"Is Sisi a party (to a ceasefire)? Sisi is a tyrant himself," Erdogan told reporters.
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