Ankara rebukes Israel as a threat to international peace
Turkish leaders have strongly condemned an Israeli ground operation into Gaza that has killed scores of civilians, declaring the Israeli administration a “threat to international peace.”
While President Abdullah Gül warned Israel that its military actions could have dangerous repercussions in the region, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Israel of committing “genocide” against the Palestinians. Gül and Erdoğan met with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the developments in the wake of Israeli aggression.
"Particularly, this noncompliant aggression of Israel is spreading the seeds of hate throughout the whole world, not just in Palestine," Gül said July 16, "Israeli attacks have come to a very dangerous phase. I want to warn Israel once more. If they do not stop, the outcome will be massive."
Gül has urged Israel to end its military operations in the Gaza Strip, warning against “massive consequences,” and called on the U.N. Security Council to make a “cogent decision to end the Israeli offensive.”
Erdoğan’s reaction against Israel was much blunter. Talking to reporters following Friday prayers in Istanbul, Erdoğan accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinian people and terrorizing the region.
“Israel is a country threatening the world’s peace. It’s a country that threatens the Middle East peace. [Israel] has never pretended to be pro-peace. It has always tormented [the Palestinian people], and today it is continuing to do so,” Erdoğan said, stressing that good relations with Israel were impossible under the current circumstances.
“The government and I will never look positively [at Israel] as long as we are in power … [Israel] may seem like the winner for now. But it will eventually be defeated,” Erdoğan added.
He also blamed the United States, Russia and other world powers for being passive in condemning Israel’s actions.
“They want to progress [but they only] express their concerns [over the situation]. It’s impossible to get somewhere by only expressing concerns,” the prime minister said, adding the United Nations was undergoing a test over its role as the world’s “peacekeeper.”
‘Israel knows best how to kill children’
Erdoğan also underlined that the attacks by Israel were not related to the death of the three Israeli children whose bodies were found in June. “These are all lies. Israel is the country that best knows how to kill children. I said it before at the Davos Summit. They shot children on the beach at that time. Now they are killing children on the beaches with bombs.”,
Both Gül and Erdoğan refuted claims made by Israel and Egypt that Turkey prevented a truce between Hamas and Israel with Gül calling these assertions “ridiculous and remorseless.” Erdoğan also criticized the Egyptian leadership, saying, “[President Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi is himself cruel.”
Abbas in Istanbul
Both Gül and Erdoğan held talks with Abbas, who paid a short visit to Turkey on July 18. Abbas informed the Turkish leaders about the developments in Gaza and exchanged views about how a cease-fire could be reached. Abbas said Israel’s objective was to try to nix the efforts of Hamas and Fatah to form unity in Palestine. “We count Turkey as our fundamental partner in our Palestine cause,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ankara called on the U.N. Security Council, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and U.N. Commission on Human Rights to stage an emergency meeting over Israel’s ground offensive on Gaza, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said.
“We vehemently condemn the ground operation launched by Israel on Gaza last night following its inhuman murders by air strikes,” Davutoğlu announced on his Twitter account early July 18.
“Humanity’s conscience is being tested once again with the Palestinian issue,” he added.
During a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late July 17, Davutoğlu said he explained to Kerry the “indignation in Turkey and the Islamic world over Gaza.”
“We exchanged views with the aim to immediately reach a lasting cease-fire that can be accepted by Palestinians,” he said.
“I expressed our demand for the immediate halt of Israeli attacks,” the minister said. Davutoğlu also talked with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah and OIC Secretary General Iyad Madani late July 17. Turkey’s discussions with Hamas and Fatah officials are also continuing, Davutoğlu said.
In a separate statement, the minister said Turkey conveyed an official proposal to open U.N. Security Council extraordinary meeting.
A joint communiqué issued by the Human Rights Investigation Panel of the Parliament also condemned Israel, claiming that Israel’s main target was to eradicate all of Palestine. “We have lost our hopes with governments and international organizations. We call all people of conscience of the world to show their democratic and humane reactions,” the communiqué read.