Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Reuters

Turkey on Friday accused Israel of using "disproportionate force" against Palestinian Arabs as tens of thousands of Gazans marched en masse towards the Gaza-Israel border.

"We strongly condemn Israel's use of disproportionate force against Palestinians during the peaceful protests today in Gaza," the foreign ministry in Ankara said in a statement quoted by AFP.

The Turkish foreign ministry expressed "concerns" over the casualties in Friday’s disturbances, saying, “It is necessary that Israel rapidly ends use of force that would further raise the tensions in the region.”

"We are inviting the international community to fulfil its responsibility to convince Israel to give up on its hostile attitude," the statement added.

At least 12 Gazans were killed in Friday’s incidents, dubbed the “March of the Return” by Gaza’s Hamas rulers, according to officials in Gaza.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported some 355 people wounded from live fire, according to AFP.

The IDF said protesters were hurling rocks and firebombs at soldiers during the riots.

Israel and Turkey signed a comprehensive reconciliation deal in 2016, ending a six-year diplomatic standoff following a violent encounter between Israeli soldiers and Islamist radicals on a ship attempting to break through the security blockade on Gaza.

However, Turkish officials, and particularly President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have continued to verbally attack and criticized Israel even after the agreement was signed.

Most recently, Erdogan described Israel as a "terrorist state" that kills children, to which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded, "I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people."

In December, Turkey’s foreign ministry condemned what it called Israel's "excessive" and "disproportionate" use of force against Palestinian Arabs who protested the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat and Passover in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)