Turkey Slams Israel Over Attack on News Agency Office in Gaza
(Bloomberg) -- Turkey condemned Israel “in the strongest possible terms” after Israeli warplanes struck and destroyed a building in the Gaza Strip where an office of the Turkish state news agency Anadolu was located.
To underscore Turkey’s anger, three top officials protested, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We forcefully condemn Israel’s attack against Anadolu Agency’s Gaza office,” Erdogan said in a Twitter post. “Notwithstanding these attacks, Turkey and Anadolu Agency will continue to cry out to the world Israel’s terror and suppression in Gaza and other parts of Palestine.”
The building in Gaza’s Rimal neighborhood housed Hamas’s military intelligence and General Security offices, the Israel Defense Forces’s spokesman’s office said in a statement.
Anadolu says the Israeli army first fired “warning shots” near the building, prompting its employees to leave immediately. Shortly afterward, Israeli airplanes completely destroyed the building with five missiles.
The attack on Anadolu marked another low point in persistently poor relations between Turkey and Israel.
The relationship has been on a decline at least since a 2009 public clash between Erdogan and President Shimon Peres of Israel during a panel on Gaza at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Ties came under further strain a year later when a Turkish flotilla bound for Gaza was raided by Israeli commandos, resulting in the deaths of 10 civilians. Tensions rose again last year after Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador in Ankara, citing disproportionate force used by the IDF against Palestinians.
Saturday’s attack targeting a news organization should anger more than just Turkey, said Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan’s communications director.
“We urge all governments that claim to defend press freedom, including the U.S., to join us in condemning the Israeli government,” he said on Twitter.
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