President Erdoğan calls Netanyahu ‘thief,’ ‘tyrant’
“The thief who heads Israel. For what he and his wife are on trial? For theft” he said on March 13 in reference to corruption allegations against the Israeli prime minister.
“You are a tyrant. You are a tyrant who slaughters seven-year-old Palestinian kids,” Erdoğan stated.
He warned Netanyahu to not provoke Muslims by making Israeli soldiers enter Muslims’ holy site in Jerusalem, he said. “We have never oppressed Jews,” he said.
Erdoğan noted that Israel dared to violate the al-Aqsa Mosque, deploying its boots on the floor of the third holiest site of Islam. “We will continue to fight till our last breath for the rights of the Palestinian people, and for al-Quds [Jerusalem] to be governed in a way that befits its importance for the Islamic world,” he said.
“Instead of preventing the oppression of Muslims, Israel’s prime minister is targeting me as sort of an ‘investment’ for the upcoming elections. We will not reply to these social media bouncers,” he stated.
The dispute comes after the presidential spokesman, İbrahim Kalın, denounced Netanyahu as a racist for saying that Israel was the nation-state of the Jewish people only. Netanyahu then struck back, calling Erdoğan a dictator and criticizing the country for imprisoning journalists.
Erdoğan has been the most vocal critic of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.
The two countries in 2016 ended a six-year rift triggered by the Israeli storming of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead and led to a downgrading of diplomatic ties.
Netanyahu has been accused by critics of demonizing Israeli Arabs, who make up some 17.5 percent of the population, in a bid to boost right-wing turnout for April polls.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on March 12 called on the global community to stand against Israeli aggression in the sacred places of Islam.
“Unfortunately, today, Israel’s aggression has increased with encouragement from the U.S. We talk about all these issues and will not give up our sacred and national causes,” Çavuşoğlu said, speaking at a public gathering in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.
Referring to raids in East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex, he said: “It is time to put a stop to Israel’s recklessness. We can’t tolerate brazen attacks on our holy places and the world must react to this.”
The top diplomat stressed Turkey and other countries of the world respect places of worship for followers of different religions.
However, Israel did not follow the same policy given the aggression in Palestine, he added.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Turkey’s presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun said March 13 on Twitter.
On March 13, Kalın said Netanyahu attacked Erdoğan for “exposing the Israeli leader’s racist remarks towards Arabs and Muslims.”
“The apartheid state he leads occupies Palestinian lands, kills women, children, and imprisons Palestinians in their own land,” he said.
Ali Erbaş, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), condemned Israel’s assaults on worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
“Oppressors” had once again violated sanctuaries, exhibiting a total disregard for humanity, conscience, morality, and international law, he said.