Turkey withdrew its ambassador and called for world leaders to meet at the U.N. Security Council in the wake of the deaths aboard a Gaza flotilla ship capture by Israeli forces. The ships were attempting to transport supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip when they were stopped by Israel Defense Force soldiers.
The raid on the Mavi Marmara, which left at least 10 pro-Palestinian activists dead, has drawn international condemnation and has strained to the breaking point Israel's relations with regional allies.
Over a thousand protesters in the Jordanian capital of Amman called for diplomatic relations between the two countries to be severed. Similar, smaller protests took place across the Arab world.
In Istanbul, 10,000 protesters gathered outside the Israeli Consulate chanting "Murderous Israel you will drown in the blood you shed!"
Three ships from the flotilla were from Turkey and 400 out of 581 passengers on the main ship, the Mavi Marmara, were Turks, according at Associated Press.
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that the country’s ambassador had been withdrawn and three joint military training exercises with Israel had been canceled.
“This attack must not remain unanswered,” he said.
Similar criticism came from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “I am shocked by reports of killing of people in boats carrying supply to Gaza. I heard the ships were in international water. That is very bad.” He called for a “thorough investigation.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned what he described as a “disproportionate use of force.”
“All light must be shed on the circumstances of this tragedy, which underlines the urgency of resuming peace talks,” Sarkozy said in a statement.
Foreign officials in Greece, Egypt, Sweden, Spain, and Denmark summoned Israeli ambassadors demanding explanations for the violence.
Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to meet with United States President Barack Obama on Tuesday, but the Israeli news agency JTA said that Netanyahu’s team was thinking of canceling the visit.
On Monday, the White House issued a statement condemning the attacks on the flotilla.
“The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained, and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy,” the statement said.