Israel Evacuating Diplomats' Families From Turkey, Following Attacks

Lieberman orders reduction of diplomatic representation, following violent demonstrations that targeted Israeli consulate, embassy.

AFP

Israeli diplomatic families in Turkey are being evacuated and Israel’s diplomatic representation in that country reduced to a minimum following violent  demonstrations on Thursday night outside the embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has also ordered that an official protest be conveyed to the Turkish government concerning the “gross violation of diplomatic rules and of the Vienna convention, which obliges a country to provide protection to foreign diplomats in its territory,” according to a statement issued by the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Lieberman said that the Turkish authorities and their security services had manifestly violated their international responsibilities during the demonstrations outside the embassy and consulate.

“We place the responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of the Israeli representatives serving there on the Turkish government,” Lieberman said.

Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered outside the Israeli offices in Ankara and Istanbul on Thursday night. Some of them were from IHH, the organization that organized the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010. Stones were thrown during the protests, windows in the Istanbul consulate were broken and a Palestinian flag was raised on the wall of the Ankara embassy.

Senior Foreign Ministry officals noted that the protests followed inflammatory speeches in recent days by Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the mayor of Ankara. The officials also said that the Turkish security forces had failed to carry out their duty to prevent violence during the protests.