ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday slammed Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for calling his country a “state of terror,” accusing Ankara of bombing the Kurds and helping Palestinian groups.
“I’m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey,” Netanyahu told a press conference he jointly held with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.
The tensions in rhetoric between the two countries that maintain decades-old robust commercial and military ties have risen since US President Donald Trump’s controversial decision this week to move the US embassy in Tel Aviv to the disputed ancient city of Jerusalem.
“[Erdogan] jails journalists, helps Iran go around international sanctions, helps terrorists—including in Gaza—who kill innocent people,” Netanyahu continued.
Netanyahu was referring to Ankara’s decades-old conflict with the millions-strong Kurds who demand self-rule, and an ongoing case of corruption at a US federal court in New York involving Turkish government-affiliated figures who helped Iran evade American sanctions.
There are over 160 journalists and media workers jailed in Turkey, the highest number in the world, according to Reuters.
“That’s not a man who is going to lecture us,” he said, according to a press release on the Israeli Prime Ministry’s website.
Earlier in the day, Erdogan said Palestine was under occupation since 1947 and labeled Israel as “child-killer.”
“Israel is an occupying state. Israel is a state of terror. Oh, Trump, we will not make the mistake you did,” Erdogan told a convention of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the eastern Sivas Province.
Turkish government forces fought an urban warfare against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas between mid-2015 and much of 2016 that resulted in the displacement of half a million people according to the UN and immense infrastructural destruction in over a dozen Kurdish towns.
The Turkish President also replied to slogans of “Jerusalem is ours, and shall remain so” shouted by AKP delegates and supporters with “Inshallah” (God willing).
The Erdogan administration’s ties with Palestinian parties including Hamas which rules the Gaza strip is no secret, as Ankara has hosted the Islamist group’s leaders several times over the years.
Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), too, has criticized Trump’s move, warning against what it called “igniting a regional war.”
However, commenting on Netanyahu’s response to Erdogan, HDP lawmaker Imam Tascier said Ankara was exposed.
“Human rights violations in Kurdistan cannot remain hidden,” Tascier of the Diyarbakir Province tweeted.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany