Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan address a meeting of his AK Party on October 8, 2017. (Photo: Presidency of Turkey, File)
(CNSNews.com) – Hitting back at harsh criticism from Turkey’s Islamist president over President Trump’s Jerusalem announcement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday Israel doesn’t take “lectures in morality” from a leader “who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people.”
Speaking in Paris, Netanyahu also accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of bombing Kurdish villages, imprisoning journalists and helping Iran to circumvent international sanctions.
“Mr. Erdogan has attacked Israel,” he told journalists during a press appearance with French President Emmanuel Macron. “You ask, what is my response.”
“I’m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people,” Netanyahu said.
“That is not the man who’s going to lecture us.”
Erdogan is a longstanding ally of the U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Turkey is also a member of the NATO alliance.
The Turkish leader has positioned himself as the leader of the Islamic world in responding to Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and move towards relocating the U.S. Embassy from to the city from Tel Aviv.
Ergodan, who is convening an emergency summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Wednesday, described Israel Sunday as a “terror state.”
“Jerusalem is the light of our eyes,” the Hurriyet daily quoted him as telling a crowd in Sivas in central Turkey. “We won’t leave it to the conscience of a state that only values occupation and looting.”
“Palestine is oppressed and a victim. Israel is absolutely a state of occupation,” Erdogan said. “Israel has never recognized any decision adopted concerning it, especially United Nations decisions, and it will never do so.”
Erdogan said the OIC summit in Istanbul will agree on a “united stance” and a “roadmap” for a concerted response in opposition to Trump’s announcement, which he said was an attempt to damage peace and security in the region.
Responding to Netanyahu’s comments in Paris, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said later Sunday the Israeli leader should end the “occupation” instead of attacking Erdogan.
The war of words comes just 18 months after Israel and Turkey restored ties which Erdogan severed after Israeli commandos in 2010 boarded a Turkish-flagged ship trying to break the security blockade of Gaza.
The raid – in which nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were during clashes with Israeli commandos – came after years of increasingly vocal hostility directed by Erdogan towards the Jewish state, at the same time as he defended Hamas and drew closer towards Iran and the Assad regime in Syria.
Meanwhile protests against Trump’s move continued over the weekend in the areas disputed between Israel and the Palestinians, and also in a number of Islamic countries, including Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Indonesia and Lebanon, where rioting protestors clashed with security forces near the U.S. Embassy.
Rocket fire from Gaza drew retaliatory Israeli airstrikes which Hamas said resulted in two “martyrs” and vowed to avenge.
It warned of violence to come, saying in a statement Sunday that “the coming days will prove to the enemy that it has made a big mistake and miscalculated the resolve of the resistance.”