Turkey on Wednesday rejected accusations by the United States that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made “anti-Semitic” remarks in his criticism of Israeli strikes in Gaza, his party’s spokesman said.
“Accusing our president of anti-Semitism is an illogical and untrue approach. This is a lie said about our president,” Omer Celik commented in a series of tweets.
The US State Department on Tuesday sharply criticized Erdogan for what it called “anti-Semitic” remarks.
“The United States strongly condemns President Erdogan’s recent anti-Semitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“We urge President Erdogan and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence,” he said.
Erdogan, a vocal champion of the Palestinian cause during his 18-year rule, has fired salvos at Israel since the start of the violence in Gaza.
“They are murderers, to the point that they kill children who are five or six years old. They are murderers, to the point they drag women on the ground to their death and they are murderers, to the point they kill old people… They only are satisfied by sucking their blood,” he said.
He has accused Israel of “terrorism” against the Palestinians and recently said, “It is in their nature.”
Erdogan also lashed out at US President Joe Biden for his diplomatic support for Israel, saying the leader has “bloody hands.”
Hamas and other Gaza terror groups have launched nearly 3,700 rockets at Israel since May 10, often forcing people living by Gaza into bomb shelters around the clock.
Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, have been killed in rocket fire, and hundreds have been injured over the past ten days.
As the sides entered their 10th day of fighting on Wednesday, Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry updated the death toll in the Strip to 217, including more than 63 minors. It was not immediately clear if the ministry tally included all of those killed or if there were Hamas operatives not included in the count.
According to the IDF, more than 120 of those killed were members of Hamas and over 25 were members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as of Monday night.