Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday blasted Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu for “daring” to attend the weekend’s anti-terror solidarity march in Paris, accusing him of leading “state terrorism” against the Palestinians.
The comments were the latest verbal assault against Netanyahu by Erdogan, under whose rule Turkey’s relations with Israel have steadily deteriorated.
“I also hardly understand how he (Netanyahu) dared to go there. For once, you give an account for the children, women you massacred,” Erdogan told a joint press conference in Ankara alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas and Netanyahu, as well as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, all joined the solidarity march in Paris in the memory of 17 people killed in Islamist terror attacks last week.
But Erdogan said Netanyahu had no right to be there after nearly 2,200 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s offensive against the Hamas-controlled Gaza last summer. Hamas claims most of the dead were civilians. Israel says at least half of the dead were Hamas and other gunmen, and blames Hamas for all the Gaza fatalities because it emplaced its war machine in Gaza’s residential area. Seventy-three people were killed on the Israeli side of the conflict.
“How can you see this individual who carries out state terrorism by massacring 2,500 people in Gaza waving his hand?” said Erdogan, a staunch backer of Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza and seeks Israel’s destruction.
“He is waving his hand as if people are very enthusiastically waiting for him,” said Erdogan, referring to the images of Netanyahu acknowledging supporters in Paris.
Erdogan is known for his angry outbursts at the Jewish state, declaring in July that Israel had “surpassed Hitler in barbarism.”
In 2009, Erdogan walked off the stage at the World Economic Forum after an angry exchange with the Israeli president, Shimon Peres.