14 May 2018 - 21:36
Turkey says US shares blame for Gaza massacre as thousands protest
Istanbul: Turkey on Monday accused the United States of sharing responsibility with Israel for a "vile massacre" along the Gaza border in which 52 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.
Thousands marched through central Istanbul in an angry protest to denounce the bloodshed as the US moved its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in defiance of outrage in the Islamic world.
"The United States, unfortunately, took its place without complaint alongside the Israeli government in this massacre of civilians and became a party to this crime against humanity," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters in Ankara.
"This is a vile massacre and we condemn it strongly," he added.
Yildirim said the events were "incompatible" with the US acting as a mediator or protector of world peace.
Protesters in Istanbul marched down Istiklal street shouting slogans including "Israel's capital is the White House", responding to a call to protest from pro-government aid group IHH.
Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag wrote on Twitter that the violence came after "unjust and unlawful decisions", referring to the embassy move from Tel Aviv to disputed Jerusalem.
"The US administration is as responsible as the Israeli government for this massacre," he said.
Violent clashes erupted along Gaza's border hours ahead of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, which was attended by a White House delegation and Israeli officials.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials have repeatedly condemned the US decision to move the embassy, warning it risked inflaming tensions.
"The US administration moving its embassy to Jerusalem destroyed the chances for peace and ignited a fire that will cause more human losses and injuries as well as destruction and catastrophe in the region," said Bozdag.
"From now, nothing will be the same in the causes of Palestine and Jerusalem."
"The world's Muslims are up in arms against Israel's actions which are backed by the Americans," said Istanbul protester Sidika Aydin.