May 16, 2018 / 7:04 PM / 9 days ago

U.N. has 'collapsed' in the face of Gaza violence, says Turkey's Erdogan

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that the United Nations had “collapsed” in the face of events in Gaza where Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinian protesters on Monday as the United States relocated its Israel embassy to Jerusalem.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, listens during a news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May after their meeting at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, May 15, 2018. Matt Dunham/Pool via REUTERS

Turkey has been among the most vocal critics of the Israeli use of deadly force against protesters at the Gaza border and of the U.S. decision to open its new embassy in Jerusalem. It called for an emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on Friday.

Speaking at a dinner on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Erdogan said the majority of the international community had failed to react to the events in Gaza, and warned that remaining silent would mean “opening a very dangerous door.”

“In the face of all these events, the United Nations has ended. (It has) become exhausted and collapsed,” Erdogan said. “If Israel’s bullying is met with more silence, the world will rapidly be dragged into a chaos where thuggery prevails.”

The events in Gaza have also sparked a diplomatic row between Turkey and Israel, with both countries expelling each other’s senior diplomats on Tuesday.

The dispute appears to mark the worst diplomatic crisis between the two regional powers since Israeli marines stormed an aid ship to enforce a naval blockade of Gaza in 2010, killing 10 Turkish activists and prompting a downgrade in diplomatic ties that lasted until 2016.

Erdogan, who described Monday’s bloodshed as genocide earlier this week, said Turkey had launched initiatives to get the issue onto the U.N. General Assembly’s agenda. He said Ankara was pressing members of the U.N. Security Council to be more active.

He said his chief of staff’s office and foreign ministry were working to evacuate the injured from Gaza, and said that Turkey would stand by Palestine “no matter what the price”.

“Even if the whole world shuts their eyes, we will not allow Israeli cruelty. We will continue to be with our Palestinian siblings not only with our hearts, but with all our resources,” he said.

“We will never allow Jerusalem to be stolen by Israel.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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