PM Netanyahu Calls Turkish Leader ‘Antisemitic Dictator’ After Erdogan Likens Israel To Nazis
Israeli-Turkish relations have been strained for better part of the last decade but may be reaching an irreversible nadir. On Sunday, Ankara’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the “cold-blooded killer of modern times,” and claimed Jerusalem is “responsible for massacres of thousands of innocent Palestinians, [including] bombing children on beaches.” This came after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a staunch supporter of the Hamas terror group that rules the Gaza Strip, accused “the Jews in Israel [of] kick[ing] people lying on the ground. In fact, Jews don’t kick men but also women and children…but as Muslims we’ll confront these people if they have courage to deal with us and we’ll teach them a lesson.” In response, Netanyahu described Erdogan as an “antisemitic dictator” and “the occupier of northern Cyprus,” adding that the Turkish “army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey.” Erdogan repeatedly has denounced Israel for its actions to secure the Gaza border, as thousands of Palestinian rioters have over the past nine months converged on the frontier on a weekly basis as part of the Hamas-initiated “March of Return” protests. Erdogan, once an ostensible Israeli ally, has described Israel as a “terrorist state” that commits “genocide” and has likened it to the Nazi regime. The war-of-words could have tangible impacts on the ground as Turkey is preparing to increase its military presence in Syria following the United States’ prospective withdrawal. President Donald Trump tweeted that Erdogan has agreed to spearhead the fight against the Islamic State, although most analysts agree that Ankara’s primary focus will be on preventing Kurdish forces from carving out an autonomous territory in Syria, especially in the country’s northwest near the shared border with Turkey.