Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu exchanged accusations of terrorism on Wednesday, over their respective countries actions against Kurds and Palestinians.
“With backing from the United States and Western countries, the state of Israel has continued its massacres non-stop for 40 days,” Erdoğan said during his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) group meeting in parliament. “They employ a strategy of total annihilation. With such murderousness they bomb civilians on the roads after forcing them to abandon their homes. In the fullest sense, they employ state terrorism. With a clear conscience, I say that Israel is a terrorist state.”
Meanwhile in Tel Aviv, Netenyahu said Erdoğan had been among the forces that support terrorism, and that he “himself bombed Turkish villages inside Turkey itself”.
“So, we are not going to get any lectures from them. We stand with those who stand for justice and truth,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.
After Wednesday’s comments, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said Erdoğan “distorts reality and finds himself once again on the wrong side of history, alongside those who praise massacres in Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen”, which the Turkish Foreign Ministry countered with a statement that said Israel was in “the dark pages of history with the oppression and massacres”.
Netenyahu and Cohen were “uncomfortable with the truth being expressed” and failed to cover up their crimes, the Turkish ministry said.
Erdoğan has repeatedly called Netenyahu a terrorist, while Netenyahu had also brought up Erdoğan’s attacks on Kurds in the past.
“I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, jails journalists, helps Iran go around international sanctions, and helps terrorists, including in Gaza, to kill innocent people,” he said at the time of the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Earlier in November, former member of the Knesset Ksenia Svetlova said Erdoğan’s government had “happily embraced other countries’ terrorists”, while “oppressing Kurds at home and attacking them across the border in Syria and Iraq”, in an article pointing to the Turkish president’s contradictions.
“It’s rather incredible that Erdoğan can simultaneously bomb Kurdish hospitals in northern Syria … while at the same time waging a fierce political campaign against Israel,” Svetlova said. “Many Kurds fear that while the world is looking the other way, Erdoğan will step up his campaign of attacks, killings, extortion and ethnic cleansing against them.”
Turkey’s latest cross-border campaign against Syrian Kurds has resulted in extensive damage to civilian infrastructure, including water and energy stations involved in production and distribution.
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander Mazloum Abdi said Turkish forces in the course of 72 hours had hit more than 145 sites, including schools and hospitals as well as the energy infrastructure in the region, in what he called a war crime.
According to Erdoğan, deliberately targeting “schools, mosques, churches, hospitals, marketplaces, buildings, streets” would amount to “a strategy of total annihilation” in the case of Israel targeting Gaza.
“Even war has morals, manners, laws and limits,” the Turkish president said.
In the same speech Erdoğan declared Israel to be “on its way out”, and that its “death is near, however many nuclear bombs you have”.
The president also targeted Turkey’s centre-left main opposition of “calling the resistance terrorists because they cannot openly defend Israel”.
“We will never refrain from voicing the fact that Hamas members are resistance fighters who work to defend their homeland, dignity and lives,” Erdoğan said.