Erdogan tells Netanyahu to twist son’s ear for calling Istanbul ‘Constantinople’
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Erdogan tells Netanyahu to twist son’s ear for calling Istanbul ‘Constantinople’

In ongoing spat, Turkish president says he has ‘other ways to educate Israel’ if PM and son continue to disrespect his country

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a local election rally for his Justice and Development Party on March 5, 2019, at Istanbul's Kasimpasa district. (Ozan KOSE / AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a local election rally for his Justice and Development Party on March 5, 2019, at Istanbul's Kasimpasa district. (Ozan KOSE / AFP)

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “twist the ear” of his son Yair as punishment for calling Istanbul Constantinople, the city’s former name when it was part of the Byzantine Empire.

Erdogan said he had “other ways to educate Israel” if Netanyahu or his son continued with their name calling.

The remarks at a political event came three days after Yair Netanyahu went after the Turkish leader on Twitter, joining a public spat between his father and Erdogan.

“I will remind him that Istanbul is actually a city called Constantinople! The capital of the Byzantine empire and center of orthodox Christianity for more then [sic] a thousand years before Turkish occupation!” the younger Netanyahu tweeted.

“I’ll also remind him the genocide Turkey had done against Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians! They ethically [sic] cleansed all Christians from Asia Minor!” he wrote in a subsequent post.

The prime minister’s son appeared to respond to Erdogan’s comments late Saturday by retweeting a post that stated “maybe it’s a good idea to start a new hashtag to piss off the mad Turk #Istanbul_is_Constaninople.”

Yair Netanyahu has used strong language in previous occasions on social media and has labeled left-wingers and journalists “traitors.”

His Twitter tirade against the Turkish leader came after Erdogan blasted his father as a “tyrant” who “massacred” Palestinian children.

Erdogan was responding Wednesday to comments from Netanyahu slamming the Turkish leader as a “dictator” and “a joke,” after a day of tit-for-tat exchanges between officials in both countries.

Turkey and Israel have tense relations, and Erdogan, who regards himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause, is a vocal critic of Israeli policies. The two leaders have exchanged barbs in the past over Gaza.

The latest exchange came after Netanyahu called Israel the nation-state of “the Jewish people” only, notof  all its citizens. That prompted Turkey on Tuesday to accuse the Israeli leader of “blatant racism.”

Israel and Turkey in 2016 formally ended a six-year diplomatic rift that ensued when 10 Turkish activists were killed in a violent confrontation with Israeli commandos aboard a ship, the Mavi Marmara, that aimed to break the naval blockade on Gaza. Israel says it maintains the blockade to prevent the import of weapons by the Hamas terror group, which rules the Strip and is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

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