Turkey on Sunday hit out at Israel’s “lawless occupation” of Palestinian territory after the Israeli prime minister accused Turkey of “massacres” against Kurds in a new war of words.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been tense this year over multiple issues including a controversial law passed by the Israeli parliament in July which defined the country as the nation state of the Jewish people.
Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “should not preach to Israel” after the Turkish leader warned young Turks on Saturday: “Do not kick the enemy you have brought down to the ground. You are not a Jew in Israel.”
Netanyahu said Erdogan was “the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey” in a tweet late on Saturday.
Erdogan’s spokesman and chief advisor Ibrahim Kalin lambasted Netanyahu, who he said “should end the lawless occupation of Palestinian lands and the brutal oppression of Palestinian people” instead of “begging President Erdogan not to speak out the truth”.
Kalin added in the tweet on Sunday: “Bashing Erdogan or using Kurds as a political chip will not save him from his domestic troubles.”
On December 14, Erdogan also said Palestinians were subjected to “pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during the Second World War”, referring to the Holocaust.
Turkey-Israel ties have been strained since Ankara ordered the Israeli ambassador to leave Turkey in May over the killing of protesters along the border with the Gaza Strip.
Erdogan, who regards himself as a champion of the Palestinians, has bitterly criticised Israel previously, calling it in July “the world’s most fascist and racist state”.