Turkey expels Israeli diplomats after UN report

ANKARA, Sept 2 Fri Sep 2, 2011 6:34am EDT

ANKARA, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday Israel's diplomatic presence in Turkey was being cut to second secretary level, effectively expelling Israeli diplomats in protest over an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound ship that killed nine Turks.

"Turkey-Israel diplomatic relations have been reduced to a second secretary level. All personnel above the second secretary level will return to their countries by Wednesday at the latest," Davutoglu told a news conference. Israel's ambassador Gabby Levy was currently in Israel and cancelled plans to return to Turkey on Thursday.

A long-awaited U.N. report on the raid, made public on Thursday, declared that Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal, but that the Jewish state used unreasonable force. (Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz, Editing by Daren Butler)