Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he can no longer speak to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in light of the bombardment of Gaza, Turkish media reports.
“Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to. We erased him and threw him away,” Erdogan tells journalists on a flight back from a summit in Kazakhstan.
Erdogan, however, adds that his foreign minister and intelligence chief would continue to talk to “the Israeli side” as well as Hamas and other Palestinian groups.
Since Israel launched its attack on Hamas in the wake of the October 7 assault that killed some 1,400 people, most of them civilians, Erdogan’s rhetoric against the operation has become increasingly critical, ending efforts for Turkey and Israel to reconcile after more than a decade of mostly hostile relations.
Erdogan, in remarks reported by state-run Anadolu news agency and other Turkish media, also reiterates the possibility of Turkey being a guarantor for any future long-term peace deal between Israel and Palestine.
“If Greece can be a guarantor country, England can be a guarantor country and Turkey is a guarantor country in Cyprus, why can’t there be a similar structure in Gaza?” the president said, referring to a 1960 treaty on the east Mediterranean island.
He adds that Ankara was “taking initiatives and developing formulas” to find peace.
Criticizing international support for Israel, Erdogan says “the whole West, especially America, is currently on Israel’s side” and that people “should not expect a fair attitude” from the European Union over Gaza.