ANKARA (AFP)–Turkish police detained around 20 students on Wednesday after they pelted Israel’s ambassador with eggs to protest the Jewish state’s treatment of Palestinians, forcing him to cancel a university visit.
The protest took place outside the university in the Black Sea port of Trabzon as Ambassador Gabby Levy arrived in his car, the Anatolia news agency reported.
“Israel is a murderer,” television footage showed the students shouting.
The ambassador left without getting out of his vehicle and police detained the group of around 20 students who defied orders to disperse, Anatolia said.
Levy was already embarrassed Tuesday in nearby Rize, where local Mayor Halil Bakirci condemned Israel’s “policies of expansion and occupation” and said that self-defense should not involve “killing children.”
Referring to Israelis visiting Turkey’s Black Sea region, he also told Levy that “due to Israel’s policies, we are worried that something undesirable may happen to those tourists and we do our best so that it does not.”
Israel’s relations with Turkey, its main regional ally, took a downturn in January when Ankara launched an unprecedented barrage of criticism of the Jewish state over its devastating war on the Gaza Strip.
Last month Turkey excluded Israel from joint military drills and said that bilateral ties would continue to suffer unless Israel ends “the humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza and revives peace talks with the Palestinians.
The Palestinian cause enjoys widespread support in both Islamist and leftist circles in Turkey.