Hundreds of thousands of Turks have answered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call and are attending the huge rally against Israel. “I believe that Israel must leave all the lands,” a board member of IHH and organizer of the Mavi Marmara flotilla told Israeli media.

Erdogan supporters hold a night-time demonstration

Erdogan supporters hold a night-time demonstration Photo Credit: Mstyslav Chernov via Wikimedia Commons

Thousands of people gathered today in Istanbul to protest against the clashes in Gaza and the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Ahead of the rally, numerous Turkish flags and posters condemning Israel were hung from cranes across the city.

The rally against Israel was initiated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in response to the 62 Palestinians protesters killed in the violent riots in Gaza earlier this week. Erdogan is expected to address the audience at the rally. In addition, he will speak with global leaders who are in Istanbul for an emergency Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit.

“Israel is a terror state and will be buried for murdering my brothers in Gaza,” an Istanbul resident said in support of Erdogan’s actions.

Izzet Sahin, a board member of the anti-Israeli IHH organization, justified the violent protests along the Gaza border this week. “They are struggling to defend their land, land that is occupied by Israel,” Sahin told Hadashot News. “I believe that Israel must leave all the lands that have been illegally occupied in the past 70 years or more. It is not a legal state.”

“Erdogan and all member countries of the Islamic Cooperation Organization and all the independent countries around the world must sever their ties with Israel and isolate Israel completely,” Sahin said when asked about the future of Israel-Turkey relations.

IHH operated the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010 and has since been declared by Israel and other countries as an Islamic terrorist organization. This week, diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel reached their lowest point since the 2016 reconciliation agreement. The consuls to both countries were expelled following the incidents along the border of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem.