Turkish police blocked dozens of stone-throwing protesters who tried to storm the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul over reports of an Israeli attack on at least one aid ship in international waters on Monday, news channels reported.
CNN-Turk and NTV showed dozens of angry protesters scuffling with Turkish police guarding the consulate in downtown Istanbul.
“Damn Israel,” the protesters shouted.
Two TV networks reported earlier that Israeli warships attacked the six ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists and aid for blockaded Gaza, killing at least 10 and wounding an unknown number of people on board.
“We were not expecting such an operation in international waters,” Omer Faruk Korkmaz, an official of the pro-Islamic aid group, IHH, that led the aid shipment said in Turkey. “Israel has been caught redhanded and the international community will not forgive it.”
Korkmaz said the ship was being escorted to Haifa.
Turkey’s foreign ministry called the reported attack “unacceptable” and summoned the Israeli ambassador to to discuss the incident – bringing already tense relations between Turkey and Israel to new levels.
“I was expecting an intervention,” said Murat Mercan, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party. “I was not expecting bloodshed, the use of arms and bullets.”
“Israel is engaged in activity that will extremely hurt its image,” he said.