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Turkey’s Erdogan Blasts ‘Tyrant’ Netanyahu

Turkey’s Erdogan Blasts ‘Tyrant’ Netanyahu

Wednesday, 13 March, 2019 - 18:15
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed on Wednesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “tyrant” for his “massacre” of Palestinians.

His fiery remarks came in response to comments by Netanyahu, who labeled the Turkish leader as a "dictator" and "a joke", after a day of tit-for-tat exchanges between government officials in both countries.

"Hey Netanyahu, behave yourself. You are a tyrant, you are a tyrant who massacred seven-year-old Palestinian children," Erdogan told a rally of supporters in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Erdogan also referred to clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians in Jerusalem, denouncing Israeli security forces for entering a "holy place".

"Do not provoke. Look, we have not oppressed any of the Jews in this country. We have not done anything you did to any synagogues here. Don't provoke us. We will not fall into this trap."

Erdogan also called Netanyahu "the thief who heads Israel" in a reference to corruption allegations against the long-seated Israeli prime minister.

Netanyahu fired back on Twitter, describing the Turkish president as a "dictator who sends tens of thousands of political opponents to prison, commits genocide against the Kurds, and occupies Northern Cyprus."

"It's best that he doesn't get involved with Jerusalem, our capital for 3,000 years. Erdogan can only learn from us how to respect every religion and protect human rights."

The latest exchange came after Netanyahu called Israel the nation-state of "the Jewish people" only, not all its citizens. That comment prompted Turkey on Tuesday to accuse the Israeli leader of "blatant racism".

Netanyahu struck back in a statement from his office early Wednesday, calling Erdogan a "dictator".

Israel and Turkey were once close allies, but diplomatic relations between the two countries have chilled in the past decade. Under Erdogan, Turkey has become a vocal critic of Israeli policies dealing with Palestinians, sparking frequent verbal feuds with Netanyahu.

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