‘Be quiet:’ Israel summons Turkish envoy after Erdogan threatens Netanyahu

Deputy ambassador called in for a ‘serious reprimand’ as Turkish president vows to send Netanyahu ‘to Allah’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a joint press conference with Ukrainian President at the Dolmabahce Presidental office in Istanbul on March 8, 2024. (Ozan Kose/AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a joint press conference with Ukrainian President at the Dolmabahce Presidental office in Istanbul on March 8, 2024. (Ozan Kose/AFP)

Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Friday ordered the Foreign Ministry to summon Turkey’s envoy to Israel for a “serious reprimand” after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to “send [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] to Allah.”

“I instructed officials to summon the Turkish deputy ambassador to Israel for a serious reprimand, following Erdogan’s serious attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu and his threats to send PM Netanyahu to Allah and to convey a clear message to Erdogan,” Katz posted on X.

“You who support the burning of babies, murderers, rapists and the mutilation of corpses by Hamas criminals, [are] the last one who can speak about God. There is no God who will listen to those who support the atrocities and crimes against humanity committed by your barbaric Hamas friends,” Katz said. “Be quiet and shame on you!”

The deputy ambassador was summoned as Turkey withdrew its ambassador at the start of the war.

In a speech on Thursday at an election rally Erdogan vowed to “send [Netanyahu] to Allah to take care of him, make him miserable and curse him.”

Erdogan has increasingly stepped up his rhetoric in the wake of October 7, attacking Israel and Netanyahu and giving his full support to Hamas, who he has called “freedom fighters.”

“No one can make us qualify Hamas as a terrorist organization,” he said in a speech in Istanbul earlier in the month. “Turkey is a country that speaks openly with Hamas leaders and firmly backs them.”

He also claimed that “Netanyahu and his administration, with their crimes against humanity in Gaza, are writing their names next to Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, like today’s Nazis.”

Hamas is listed as a terror organization by the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom

, the European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries.

In October, Erdogan claimed that Hamas was “not a terrorist organization” but “a group of mujahideen defending their lands.” “Mujahideen” is an Arabic term for those engaged in jihad, or holy war.

The Turkish president has been one of the most virulent critics of Israel since the start of the war in Gaza, which began on October 7 after thousands of Hamas-led terrorists burst into Israel by air, land and sea, killing some 1,200 people and kidnapping another 253, mostly civilians.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel responded with a wide-scale ground and air campaign that the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said has killed more than 30,000 people. These figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed over 13,000 operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

Erdogan has not officially condemned Hamas’s slaughter of Israeli civilians.

His government also maintains strong ties with Hamas, and Turkey has hosted some of its leaders. While the country insisted that it only hosted the group’s political wing, in 2020, Israel provided Turkish intelligence with evidence that members of Hamas’s military wing operate in the office, under the supervision of Beirut-based Saleh al-Arouri, who was killed in an alleged Israeli strike in Lebanon in January.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz attends a United Nations Security Council meeting about the conflict in the Middle East at UN headquarters in New York on March 11, 2024. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

In January, Erdogan’s foreign minister met the terror group’s Qatar-based leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Erdogan had been in the midst of an effort to warm ties with Israel in the months before the war, but has since sharply backtracked and returned to the same vitriolic attacks that characterized many of his previous years in power.

He and Netanyahu repeatedly aimed brickbats at each other in the years since a 2010 Israeli commando raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship, part of a blockade-busting flotilla, that left dead 10 Turkish activists who attacked IDF soldiers aboard the ship. In July 2014, Erdogan accused the Jewish state of “keeping Hitler’s spirit alive” during a war with Gaza.

Ties later saw a moderate improvement, but both countries withdrew their ambassadors in 2018 amid violence in Gaza and the Trump administration’s relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem.

Facing hardening diplomatic isolation and economic woes, Erdogan began to publicly display an openness toward rapprochement in December 2020.

In August 2022, Israel and Turkey announced a full renewal of diplomatic ties.

In late September 2023, Erdogan met with Netanyahu in New York for their first known sit-down and the two enthusiastically discussed avenues of cooperation. President Isaac Herzog was hosted by Erdogan last March in Ankara — the first high-level Israeli visit since 2008 — and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met the Turkish leader in February 2023. Then-prime minister Yair Lapid met with Erdogan in New York during last year’s General Assembly.

Israel and Turkey again withdrew their ambassadors with the outbreak of the war, in Israel’s case as a safety measure.

Most Popular
read more: