Israeli leaders on Tuesday lashed out against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who likened the Jewish state’s Gaza policies to the Nazi treatment of the Jews during a meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
According to a report by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, Erdogan told US Muslim leaders in a Monday meeting in New York that “we view the Holocaust in the same way we view those besieging Gaza and carrying out massacres in it.”
On Tuesday, in his UN speech, Erdogan slammed Israel again, questioning its borders and accusing it of harboring expansionist aims.
“The Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation has become one of the most striking places of injustice,” Erdogan said, brandishing a map frequently featured by critics of Israel purporting to show how Israeli territory grew over the years at the Palestinians’ expense.
He also claimed that a Palestinian woman shot and killed during an alleged stabbing attempt last Wednesday — while carrying a knife at a checkpoint — was “murdered heinously.”
Immediately after the speech, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Erdogan of “lying.”
“Someone who does not stop lying, who slaughters Kurds, who denies the massacre of the Armenians, should not preach to Israel,” he said. “Stop lying Erdogan.”
Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused Erdogan of anti-Semitism in a similar statement, which the ministry said was referring to the Holocaust comparison.
“You should be ashamed, Erdogan,” Katz said.
“There is no other way to interpret Erdogan’s crude and vile words – it is anti-Semitism, clear cut. This is proof that the responsibility of #HolocaustRemembrance is more relevant now than ever,” Katz tweeted.
Erdogan is an ardent defender of the Palestinian cause and a fierce critic of Israel, and he and Netanyahu frequently exchange barbs.
In April, Erdogan called the Israeli leader a “tyrant” after Netanyahu called him a “dictator” and a “joke.”
A month later, Erdogan fiercely denounced Israel for the bombing of a building housing Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu in Gaza. The bombing came amid heavy fighting, as Gazan terrorists fired over 250 rockets at Israel and Jerusalem responded with airstrikes on the Strip.
Israel and Turkey formally ended a six-year diplomatic rift in 2016 that began when 10 Turkish activists were killed in a violent confrontation with Israeli naval commandos aboard the Mavi Marmara ship that aimed to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel said the soldiers were violently attacked by those on board.
But even since ties were reinstated, relations have remained very frosty.
Agencies contributed to this report.