World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel advised its citizens on Saturday not to travel to Turkey, citing "the public mood" after heated protests there against Israel's ground offensive into Gaza.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said Israelis should "avoid non-essential visits" to Turkey - once Israel's closest regional ally - or be especially vigilant and steer clear of anti-Israel demonstrations.
The travel advisory could affect commercial air connections between Tel Aviv and Istanbul, expanded in recent years as the two countries sought to rebuild relations.
Israel said on Friday it would pare back already an reduced staff at its embassy in Ankara and consulate in Istanbul, scenes of furious street protests at Israel's escalation of its Gaza offensive into a ground invasion.
It accused Turkish police of not doing enough to protect its diplomats and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of incitement after he accused Israel of terrorising the region.
Prime Minister Erdogan, speaking at a Friday Iftar Dinner in Istanbul also attended by Palestine President Mahmood Abbas, said “Israel has been terrorizing Gaza, and carrying out genocide. It does not want a national consensus government between Fatah and Hamas, and does not want to see a united Palestine."
Earlier in the day at another meeting in Bursa, Erdogan accused a “new alliance of crusaders” in a speech denouncing Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
“What kind of a right to defend itself is it that none of them – the Israelis – are being killed. Palestinians are the only ones who are being killed.
“They – the Israelis – are neither sincere nor honest. We are facing a new alliance of crusaders.”
Relations with Turkey reached an all-time low in 2010, when Israeli commandos stormed the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara sailing as part of a flotilla challenging the Jewish state's naval blockade of Gaza. Ten people were killed.
Over 300 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in Gaza by an Israeli offensive since early last week.Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Temmuz 2014, 11:50