Erdoğan brands Netanyahu ‘butcher of Gaza,’ calls for lasting truce - M5 Dergi
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Erdoğan brands Netanyahu ‘butcher of Gaza,’ calls for lasting truce

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Escalating his criticism of the Israeli PM, Erdoğan said on Wednesday that Netanyahu would be remembered as the ‘butcher of Gaza’ and highlighted his concern over the fragile truce in the Palestine-Israel conflict.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Wednesday said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it to annals of history as “butcher of Gaza” due to “one of the biggest atrocities he carried out in Gaza.”

Addressing his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting, the president said statements by the Netanyahu administration reduced their hopes for the current humanitarian pause to be turned into a lasting truce.

Erdoğan added that Netanyahu’s actions fueled anti-Semitism and endangered the lives of Jewish people across the globe. He also reiterated Türkiye’s commitment to ensure that the Israeli administration was held accountable for crimes they committed before the international courts.

The president began his speech by sending his greetings to “oppressed people of Gaza, my Palestinian brothers and sisters.”

“They have been subject to the most heinous attacks of the history of humankind since Oct. 7. Their mosques are bombed, their schools razed to the ground, refugee camps were deliberately targeted, children are brutally massacred,” he said.

Türkiye is one of the major supporters of the Palestinian cause and Erdoğan made global headlines when he confronted then-Israeli President Shimon Peres at a Davos summit in his famous “one minute!” incident in 2009 for crimes Israel committed toward Palestinians.

The president said what happened in Gaza since Oct. 7 was a genocide, targeting 2 million people “confined to an open-air prison with their food, electricity and water supplies cut off.”

“They ravaged Gaza and committed every kind of cruelty. For 50 days, they burned and destroyed Gaza. Their actions went down in history as a shame. People in Gaza have suffered from hellish conditions under Israeli oppression since Oct. 7. Over 16,000 Gazan brothers and sisters of us are martyred and over 70% of them were women and children. More than 35,000 Palestinians were injured. We remember each martyr and hope the injured would get well soon,” he maintained.

Erdoğan pointed out that two-thirds of buildings in Gaza were demolished or heavily damaged, rendering them uninhabitable with health and education infrastructure collapsed. “Netanyahu is already remembered as the butcher of Gaza. This is a shame he will be associated with, but everyone who unconditionally supported him will be remembered for this shame as well. It will not be forgotten. We will never forget Western countries’ lack of reaction to crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Gaza, except a few. We will utilize all options for the Israeli administration to be held accountable before international courts, in the name of humanity,” he said.

Hope for longer truce

The president said Türkiye would always stand with the people of Gaza and the conflict dominated every contact Türkiye made with the international community. He noted that he most recently discussed it with Algerian, Lebanese and Spanish leaders and singled out Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez for his “principled stance” on the issue. The president also cited his phone call with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday.

He told Guterres that Israel must be held accountable in international courts for what he called war crimes it committed in Gaza, according to the Turkish Presidency’s earlier statement. In the phone call ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting on Gaza planned for Wednesday, Erdoğan and Guterres discussed the “expectations of the international community regarding Israel’s unlawful attacks,” access to humanitarian aid into the enclave and efforts for lasting peace, the Presidency said.

“During the call, President Erdoğan said Israel continues to shamelessly trample on international law, the laws of war and international humanitarian law by looking into the eyes of the international community and it must be held accountable for the crimes it committed in front of international law,” it said in a statement.

The president said the issue would be on his agenda during his visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he will attend the COP28 climate summit and is expected to hold talks with attending heads of state.

He said they welcomed prisoner exchanges between Israel and Hamas and the humanitarian pause and it was a positive development to stop the bloodshed, adding that they were grateful to brotherly countries helping establish the truce deal. But he was pessimistic about the future of the deal. “Statements by the Netanyahu administration dim hopes for a lasting cease-fire,” he said, highlighting the importance of stopping Netanyahu from shedding more blood “to prolong his political career after he lost favor with the Israeli public.”

“Murders of Netanyahu in Gaza stokes anti-Semitism and endangers the safety of Israeli people and Jews around the world. In parallel with anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim stance is on the rise in the world. Migrants pay the price for the rhetoric of leaders of the Western countries where they lived,” Erdoğan said, stressing that those leaders demonized Palestinians under the guise of criticizing Hamas.

He cited the attack on three Palestinian students in the United States last Sunday as the latest example of the consequence of this rhetoric. “We know Western countries are unwilling to fight against those terrorists whose actions and personalities are downplayed by branding them fanatic, mentally unstable, or far-right extremist,” he said. “Double standards they exhibited since the beginning of the Gaza crisis shows there is altogether another plot than the mere excuse of legal loopholes that kept anti-Muslim hate crimes unpunished,” Erdoğan added.

“There is no goodwill in tolerating desecration of the Quran under the pretext of freedom of expression. It is clear that they are trying to stir up a ‘Muslim problem’ just like they did to the Jews and Roma community in the past,” he concluded.

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