Israel will not be lectured to by a leader who bombs his own people, jails journalists and helps Iran and Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a sharp rebuttal to the most recent anti-Israel tirade by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan – who is emerging as one of the main voices in the Islamic world trying to stir passions over US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – on Sunday called Israel a “terrorist state.”
According to the Hurriyet Daily News website, Erdogan, speaking at a meeting of his AKP Party in the central Anatolian province of Sivas, charged Israel with using “disproportionate” force against Palestinians protesting Trump’s declaration and declared Israel an “oppressive, occupation state.”
Netanyahu, who has made it a general practice of refraining from responding to Erdogan’s anti-Israel rhetoric, shot back this time at a press conference in Paris alongside French President Emmanuel Macron
Asked about Erdogan’s verbal attack, Netanyahu replied, “I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from the leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people. That is not the man who is going to lecture us.”
His comments hit a nerve, as Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin issued a statement condemning Netanyahu’s remarks and said: “It is not possible to take seriously the allegations and accusations made by a mentality, which massacred thousands of Palestinians, turned the lands of the Palestinians into an open-air prison, in order to suppress its guilt.”
Kalin, using the Arabic name for Jerusalem, said that those who think they will make Al-Quds the “capital of the occupying state are wasting their time.”
Erdogan called for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul on Wednesday to discuss the Jerusalem issue.
Erdogan has publicly commented on the issue almost every day for over a week. A Turkish presidential source on Saturday said that Erdogan – who last week threatened to cut off ties with Israel
over the move – spoke with Macron and “agreed to continue efforts to convince the US to reconsider its decision.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with Erdogan in Turkey on Monday, and Erdogan is expected to raise the issue with him as well.
On Saturday, the Turkish president slammed Trump, with Hurriyet quoting him as saying, “Leading the world is not so easy. Being strong does not give you this right.” Israel, he said during an address to the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, “is an occupying state and their police are shooting youths and children... They are striking Gaza with their F-16s.”
During that speech, he stressed the importance of Turkey’s stability for the Muslim world. “If Turkey is weakened, Palestine, Jerusalem, Syria and Iraq will all lose hope,” he said.
Erdogan’s rhetoric is trickling down. Hurriyet reported that the Turkish Football Federation requested all clubs playing in the Super League, 1st League, 2nd League and 3rd League to open Jerusalem banners while coming onto the field at the beginning of their matches this week.
On Saturday, players on the Galatasaray and Akhisarspor Turkish football teams, held up a banner before their game that read, “Jerusalem is our red line.” According to Hurriyet, banners among the fans in the stands read, “If Jerusalem is not free, the world remains captive.”Reuters contributed to this report