Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has staged another verbal attack on Israel by saying, “whoever is on the side of Israel, let everyone know that we are against them.”
Speaking at a gathering of Turkey’s ruling AKP Party in Ankara on Sunday, Erdogan said that the Turkish government does not “approve of silence on the state terror that Israel blatantly carries out in Palestine."
The remarks come against the backdrop of ongoing war of words between Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the Turkish President referring in March to Netanyahu, who faces corruption allegations at home, as “the thief who heads Israel”.
Erdogan then described Netanyahu as a “tyrant who slaughters 7-year-old Palestinian kids.”
The Israeli Prime Minister quickly retaliated by accusing Erdogan of committing genocide against Kurds and calling him “the dictator who sends tens of thousands of political opponents to prison, commits genocide against the Kurds, and occupies Northern Cyprus.”
While Netanyahu often slams Turkish policies on Kurds, including the 2018 Ankara-led Operation Olive Branch in the majority-Kurdish Afrin district in northern Syria, Erdogan draw parallels between Israel’s actions and the Nazi persecution of Jews, dubbing Netanyahu the “PM of an apartheid state,” who has “the blood of Palestinians on his hands.”
Referring to a new legislation defining Israel as a Jewish state, Erdogan said last year that “the Hitler spirit, which dragged the world into a major disaster, has risen again among some Israeli officials”. Netanyahu responded by saying that “a man who sends thousands of Turkish soldiers to hold the occupation of northern Cyprus and invades Syria will not preach to us.”
Relations between Israel and Turkey deteriorated after the beginning of the Palestinians’ so-called Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip in March 2018, an event that turned violent and resulted in deadly clashes between Palestinian militants and Israeli police.
The violence culminated on 14 May, 2018, the day of the official opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, which came six months after US President Donald Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.