Istanbul, April 24 () - After recalling its ambassador to Austria on April 22, Turkey has now recalled seven ambassadors to Ankara over the last few years for various reasons, including bilateral political strain or security concerns in those foreign capitals.
Currently, Turkey has no ambassadors in Syria, Egypt, Israel, Libya, Yemen and the Vatican, in addition to Austria, as bilateral relations between Ankara and the aforementioned countries have become strained or due to security concerns over the past five years.
New envoys could be added to the list as further parliamentary declarations on the 1915 killings of Anatolian Armenians by Ottoman Turks as “genocide” are expected for April 24. The Duma of Russia could make a similar decision about Armenian claims, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has already identified the mass killings as “genocide.”
Turkey withdrew its ambassador in Tev Aviv, Oğuz Çelikkol, in 2010 after Israeli commandos boarded Gaza-bound aid ships resulting in the deaths of 10 Turks, bringing the already strained relationship between the Jewish state and Turkey to a breaking point. Diplomatic relations between the two states have been reduced to the second-secretary level.
In 2013, Egypt expelled Turkey’s ambassador to Cairo on Nov. 23, declaring him “persona non grata” amid tension between the two countries, which has escalated since the military takeover that toppled former president Mohamed Morsi. Since then, Turkey has not appointed a new ambassador to Cairo.
In 2012, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Syria, Ömer Önhon, and closed its embassy in Damascus, citing the worsening security situation in the country. The move came two days after then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara was on the brink of breaking diplomatic ties with Syria and withdrawing its ambassador. Shortly after, Turkey declared that it did not recognize Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government as the legitimate administration in the country.
Turkey also recalled its ambassador in Libya, as bilateral ties strained between Ankara and new administration in Libya after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Turkey wanted to appoint new ambassador Ahmet Doğan to Tripoli but the Libyan government did not approve him. Turkey does not have an ambassador in Tripoli at the moment. Libya’s parliament recalled the country’s ambassador to Turkey in 2014.
In February, Turkey suspended the operations of its embassy in Yemen and evacuated all of its diplomats, including Ambassador Fazlı Çorman, because of the worsening situation in the capital Sanaa due to intensified clashes between Shiite militia and Sunni groups.
Turkey’s ambassador to the Vatican was summoned to Ankara for consultations on April 12, after Pope Francis called the 1915 incidents involving Armenians “genocide.”
Austria was subject to a similar reaction by Ankara, as Turkey recalled its ambassador in Vienna on April 22 after parties represented in the Austrian parliament signed a declaration recognizing the massacre of Armenians a century ago as “genocide.”