ANKARA (Reuters) – Thousands of people gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Ankara and its consulate in Istanbul to protest at Israeli actions against Palestinians on Monday while President Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Middle East leaders about the rising violence.
Despite a full lockdown aimed at curbing coronavirus cases, the protesters in Istanbul, including Syrians and Palestinians, carried Palestinian flags while chanting, “(Turkish soldiers) to Gaza” and “Down with Israel, down with America.”
Erdogan spoke by phone with King Abdullah of Jordan, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah, as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu discussed the issue with his counterparts in Iran, Algeria, Pakistan and Russia.
According to a statement from his office, Erdogan told King Abdullah that the “inhumane” attacks against Palestinians were aimed at all Muslims, adding that Turkey and Jordan needed to work together to stop them.
Violent clashes over Jerusalem escalated dramatically on Monday with Gaza health officials saying at least 20 people, including nine children, were killed by Israeli air strikes launched after Palestinian militant groups fired rockets close to Jerusalem.
(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Mert Ozkan in Ankara, Mehmet Emin Caliskan in Istanbul; Editing by Howard Goller)