October 19, 2019

Turkish President Says He Opposes All Allies of Israel

FILE PHOTO: Turkey President Recep Tayip Erdogan attends the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) summit in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on television on July 28 that he and his ruling party AKP (Justice and Development Party) oppose anyone that sides with Israel.

In his address to senior AKP officials, Erdogan said, “Whoever is on the side of Israel, let everyone know that we are against them. We do not approve of silence on the state terror that Israel blatantly carries out in Palestine.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted in response to Erdogan on July 30, “President Erdogan, we now understand your opposition to democracy, minority rights, and free expression.”

Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have exchanged barbs in the past. In December, Erdogan said in a speech at the Turkey Youth Foundation, “The Jews in Israel kick people laying on the ground. In fact, Jews don’t kick men but also women and children when they fall on the ground.” A day later, Netanyahu called Erdogan “an anti-Semitic dictator” who “has an obsession with Israel.”

In March, Netanyahu’s son, Yair, tweeted he’ll “remind” Erdogan “that Istanbul is actually a city called Constantinople! The capital of the Byzantine empire and center of orthodox Christianity for more then [sic] a thousand years before Turkish occupation!” Erdogan said a few days later that Netanyahu should twist his son’s ears for that comment, and that Turkey has “other ways to educate Israel” if Netanyahu and Yair continued their name-calling.

Erdogan also has frequently compared Israel to Nazi Germany, which included him saying in December that “the Palestinians are subjected to pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during WWII.”

Turkey has developed warmer relations with Iran since 2016 and supports Hamas, allowing it to operate in Istanbul.