Israeli PM says Turkey ‘massacres’ Kurds amid Turkish threats to Syrian Kurds

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said the Turkish state should not preach to Israel while Ankara continues to “massacre” Kurds inside and outside of Turkey.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday said the Turkish state should not preach to Israel while Ankara continues to “massacre” Kurds inside and outside of Turkey.

“Erdogan – the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey – should not preach to Israel,” Netanyahu said on Twitter in a response to Turkish criticism.

Earlier the day Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned thousands of his young supporters at an Istanbul youth convention against "being like Jews." 

"Do not kick the one who has fallen, for you are not the Jew in Israel. They kick not only men, but also women and children," he said, adding to his previous anti-Semitic remarks. 

Moreover, on 14 November, the Turkish president compared Israel to Nazi Germany, accusing Israel of carrying out "cultural genocide" against Palestinians. 

This was not the first time the Israeli leader lashed out at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two have exchanged accusations in the past over Palestinian and Kurdish civilians killed by the two countries respective armies.

“The most moral army in the world will not be lectured by those who have indiscriminately bombed civilian populations for years,” Netanyahu said in April, seemingly referring to Ankara’s decades-long military campaign against Kurds in Turkey and now those in Syria.

“Apparently, this is how April Fool’s Day is celebrated in Ankara,” a statement by the Israeli PM’s office on Facebook read in April.

In response, Erdogan called Netanyahu “a terrorist.” 

According to Jerusalem-based journalist Seth Frantzman, the Israeli PM Netanyahu is almost alone among world leaders in condemning Turkey's actions, including condemning treatment of Kurds and mentioning northern Cyprus.

“Turkey and Israel once had a close relationship that was expected to grow in the 2000s, however various incidents, particularly the conflict in Gaza in 2009 and the Mavi Marmara incident, led to a downturn in relations that never recovered,” he said. 

“Turkey's politicians increasingly use Israel as a scapegoat to channel populist nationalist and pan-Islamic fervor, using the Palestinian cause as a rallying cry. Netanyahu has consistently shown that Israel will react with strength to such comments rather than accepting them, because he views Turkey and Israel as equals,” he said.

Meanwhile, some Kurds believe Israel should begin to offer real support on the ground instead of releasing statements sympathizing with them.

“If Netanyahu really believes what he says, then he should act. Enough words, Kurds are tired of empty words,” Diliman Abdulkader, the Director of the Kurdistan Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), told Kurdistan 24.

“If Netanyahu believes Erdogan is such an evil leader whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey, then arm the Kurds and protect them with your brand-new F-35s,” he added.

In January 2018, Turkey backed the Islamist-dominated Free Syrian Army (FSA) to stage an invasion of the Afrin region in Syrian Kurdistan, killing up to 280 civilians, wounding hundreds of others, and leading to the displacement of some 200,000 people.

Kurds now fear that the same could happen in other towns in the east of the Euphrates after US President Donald Trump seemed to have reached a deal with his Turkish counterpart.

On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Trump had announced the withdrawal from Syria, after mentioning the decision to Erdogan in a phone call, Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported.

Cavusoglu added that there were three joint working groups between Turkey and the US that would meet on Jan. 8, 2019.

“Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We’re coming home!” President Trump tweeted on Saturday.

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany