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Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal, Erdogan says

"The move against Palestine is not a step that can be stomached," Erdogan said.
Image: Turkish President Erdogan talks to media in Istanbul
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks after attending Friday prayers at a mosque in Turkey's capital Istanbul on Friday.PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE / Reuters

Turkey is considering suspending diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and withdrawing its ambassador over the Gulf state's accord to normalize ties with Israel, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

The Turkish foreign ministry said history would never forgive the UAE's "hypocritical behavior" in agreeing such a deal, which recasts the order of Middle East politics.

Under the U.S.-brokered deal - the first between Israel and a Gulf Arab state - the Jewish state agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank which Palestinian leaders have denounced as a "stab in the back" to their cause.

"The move against Palestine is not a step that can be stomached," Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers.

"Now, Palestine is either closing or withdrawing its embassy. The same thing is valid for us now," he said, stating that he'd given orders to his foreign minister.

"I told him we may also take a step in the direction of suspending diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi leadership or pulling back our ambassador," he added.

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The Turkish Foreign Ministry had earlier said Palestinians were right to reject the deal in which the UAE betrayed their cause.

"History and the conscience of the region's peoples will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behavior," it said. "It is extremely worrying that the UAE should, with a unilateral action, try and do away with the (2002) Arab Peace Plan developed by the Arab League."

Turkey has diplomatic and trade ties with Israel, but relations have been strained for years.

In 2010 Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists trying to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

The deal makes the UAE the third Arab country to establish full relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.