TURKISH PRESIDENT Recep Tayyip Erdogan greets the audience during a ceremony to mark the 16th anniversary of his ruling AK Party’s foundation in Ankara, August 14..
(photo credit: UMIT BEKTAS / REUTERS)
Israel needs to stand up against the “hostility and antisemitism” of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Monday, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traded public insults with the Turkish leader.
“It is odd that a country like Turkey, which slaughters Kurds and occupies northern Cyprus, is accepted as a legitimate country in the West,” Erdan said in an Army Radio interview, recommending that Israel begin working against Turkey in the international arena.
Erdogan, who for years has launched broadsides against Israel, slammed Israel on Saturday for the “inhumane” way it dealt with Friday’s march in the Gaza Strip. This triggered a sharp response from Netanyahu, and then tit-for-tat insults between the leaders, with Erdogan calling Netanyahu a terrorist, and Netanyahu responding that Erdogan was a “butcher.”
“Erdogan is not used to people responding to him, but he should start getting used to it,” Netanyahu said. “Anyone who occupied northern Cyprus, invades the Kurdish strip and slaughters citizens in Afrin, should not lecture us about values and ethics.”
Although Monday saw no repeat of the dueling insults between the two leaders, Erdan said the “antisemitic Erdogan continues to support Hamas and is active in Jerusalem.”
He said that Israel should expose Turkey’s “values” to the world, including recognizing as genocide the Turkish massacre and deportation of Armenians during and after World War I.
Furthermore, Erdan said that – in retrospect – Israel might have erred in signing the reconciliation agreement with Turkey in 2016 that put an end to the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident and paved the way for a resumption of full diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Under that deal, Israel paid $20 million compensation to the families of those killed on the Turkish ship who violently attacked IDF soldiers after they boarded it to keep it from breaking the Gaza blockade.
Erdan was one of the seven ministers in the security cabinet who voted for the deal, with only three ministers opposing.
Explaining his vote on Monday, Erdan said that he was not completely comfortable with it at the time, but was swayed by pressure from Netanyahu and the prospect of Turkey placing pressure on Hamas to release the bodies of the two missing IDF soldiers held in Gaza. He added that Israel “does not enjoy the luxury to refuse a compromise when dealing with one of the Middle Eastern powers, certainly when the cost is low.”
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