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Turkey expels Israeli ambassador over Gaza border deaths

'Read the ten commandments,' Turkish President tells Benjamin Netanyahu in Twitter clash

    "Murderer Israel" read one poster held at a demonstration in front of the Israeli consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday (Photo: Getty Images)

    Turkey has expelled the Israeli ambassador in response to Monday’s violence on the Gaza border that left nearly 60 Palestinians dead.

    Ambassador Eitan Naeh was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara on Tuesday and told “it would be appropriate for you to return to your country for a while”, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

    The Turkish ambassador in Tel Aviv had already been summoned back to Ankara for consultations.

    58 Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers on the border with Gaza on Monday, many of them by live ammunition.

    Tuseday's expulsion came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was among Hamas's "biggest supporters".

    Mr Erdoğan responded later in the afternoon by describing Israel as an "apartheid state" and advising the Israeli prime minister to read the ten commandments.

    Israel and Turkey were once strong allies but relations have become rocky over the past decade, in particular since the Mavi Marmara incident of 2010.

    Turkish citizens were killed when the IDF stormed the Mavi Marmara flotilla carrying activists intending to break the sea blockade of the Gaza Strip.

    The two countries did not break diplomatic ties but relations were downgraded following the incident.

    A Turkish ambassador did not return to Tel Aviv until 2016, after Israel agreed to compensate the victims’ families.

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