The war-of-words between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reached epic proportions, creating a media bonanza with headlines splashed across front pages containing recriminating terms such as “Nazi,” “dictator,” and “murderer.” The latest exchange came after Netanyahu described Israel as belonging only to the Jewish people, which evoked Turkish accusations that the Israeli leader was promoting “blatant racism” and that he “massacred” Palestinian children. Thereafter, Netanyahu labeled Erdogan a human rights abuser and a “joke,” before the tit-for-tat verbal attacks took a strange turn. Namely, Netanyahu’s twenty-seven-year-old son Yair entered the fray, tweeting, “I will remind [Erdogan] that Istanbul is actually a city called Constantinople! The capital of the Byzantine empire and center of orthodox Christianity for more then [sic] a thousand years before Turkish occupation!” In a follow-up post Yair added, “I’ll also remind him the genocide Turkey had done against Greeks, Assyrians, and Armenians!” In response, Erdogan charged that the younger Netanyahu is “fed by the same source” as the white supremacist who killed dozens of Muslim worshipers in New Zealand, and urged Israel’s prime minister to “twist the ear” of his son in order to keep him in line. Jerusalem and Ankara have been at odds for almost a decade, primarily over Israel’s Gaza policies that lie in stark opposition to Erdogan’s support for the Palestinians and various Islamic movements like the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is an offshoot. Now, with Yair weighing in, the plot thickens.
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