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Erdogan sues rival for comparing his attempt to hold onto power to that of Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seen in a combination of photos. (Ronen Zvulun and Ozan Kose/ AFP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seen in a combination of photos. (Ronen Zvulun and Ozan Kose/ AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sues a nationalist rival for comparing him to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, official media reports.

Iyi Party (Good Party) leader Meral Aksener, a conservative nationalist who has been dubbed Turkey’s “Iron Lady,” said in parliament on Tuesday that Netanyahu and Erdogan used similar tactics to hold on to power.

She said Netanyahu’s recent campaign against Palestinian terror groups in Gaza, which Erdogan has furiously opposed, was driven by politics and a desire to gain public support after four inconclusive elections in two years.

“Erdogan’s Israel version, Benjamin Netanyahu, did not hesitate to target the lives of civilians and children to scupper his political rivals and protect his seat,” she said.

In a televised chat with young people late Wednesday, Erdogan called Aksener’s comments “immoral.”

“I have not met Netanyahu,” Erdogan said. “Netanyahu has never been and will never be our friend.”

Erdogan’s lawsuit is seeking 250,000 liras ($30,000) in damages, the Anadolu news agency reports.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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