Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announces his new cabinet in Ankara, August 29, 2014..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Ankara’s verbal sparring with Jerusalem intensified on Thursday, with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu likening what he said were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “crimes against humanity” to the actions of the terrorists in Paris.
“Netanyahu, as the head of a government that massacred children playing on a beach in Gaza through aerial bombing, that destroyed thousands of houses, that made the killing of Palestinians routine on all occasions, that killed our citizens on board a humanitarian aid ship in international waters, committed crimes against humanity just like those terrorists who carried out the Paris massacre,” Davutoglu told reporters on Thursday, “He can’t escape this.”
Davutoglu’s comments were the latest volley in a war of words between the two capitals triggered by anti-Israel comments Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made on Monday alongside visiting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Erdogan, one of the leading supporters of Hamas in the world, said he did not understand how Netanyahu “dared to go” to the massive anti-terror and pro-free speech march in Paris on Sunday. He said, in a reference to the summer’s military confrontation in Gaza, that Netanyahu should “give an account for the children and women you massacred.”
Davutoglu also attended that march.
While Netanyahu generally ignores Erdogan’s routine vitriolic comments against Israel, this time he responded, saying on Wednesday that Erdogan’s comments about the Paris march were “shameful” and needed to be repudiated by the international community. He also said, in an apparent reference to Turkey’s support for Hamas, that the world needed to condemn “terrorists and their supporters,” and not those who fight them, like Israel and the US.
Netanyahu repeated that sentiment on Thursday during a speech at the swearing in ceremony for new Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, in light of Davutoglu’s comments and another strident statement put out by Erdogan’s spokesman.
Following Netanyahu’s comments on Wednesday, Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin issued a statement again slamming Israel for Operation Protective Edge, and saying that “the Israeli prime minister’s call for the condemnation of our president’s speech is shameful.”
The statement went on to charge that as the world’s leaders, including French President François Hollande, “meticulously avoided relating the terror acts in Paris with Islam,” Netanyahu tried to “clearly relate these attacks with Islam by using ‘Islamic terrorism’ which is an Islamophobic attitude and cannot be accepted.”
Netanyahu, in his speech at the Grand Synagogue in Paris on Sunday evening, made a point of saying that the world’s common enemy was “extreme Islam, not Islam, not regular extremists, but extreme Islam.”
According to Kalin’s statement, “Netanyahu’s use of the Paris attacks and anti-terrorism march for his own political ends is deplorable and should be condemned by all. The Israeli government should stop its aggressive and racist policies and learn to respect the rights of the Palestinians, instead of attacking others by hiding behind anti-Semitism.”