President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged Israel to allow aid into Gaza it laid siege upon. Addressing a business forum in Istanbul, Erdoğan voiced his objection to collective punishment of civilians in Gaza and said it would only lead to more tensions and “more tears.”
Erdoğan also hit out at the United States for its biased stance on the issue and criticized it for sending warships to the region as well as its blatant support for the PKK/YPG terrorists in Syria. The president said Türkiye had a “security-related issue” with the United States.
Speaking at the annual Türkiye-Africa Business and Economic Forum in Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “The possibility that concerns us is that tension would increase and spread to the region.”
“Mosques, hospitals, and civilian settlements are bombarded and we reject such attacks as I openly express,” he added.
He said the blockade has worsened the humanitarian situation in Gaza and made the region more vulnerable.
Cutting off the electricity, water, fuel, and food for 2 million people cramped in an area of 360 square kilometers (139 square miles) in Gaza is a violation of most basic human rights, he added.
“Punishing Gazan people collectively like this will only increase the problem and will cause more tears and suffering,” the Turkish president said.
Erdoğan criticized U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s remarks on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Blinken says that he approached Israel not as a foreign minister but as a Jew, Erdoğan stressed.
Reminding that the planes carrying Turkish humanitarian aid for residents of the Gaza Strip landed in Egypt on Friday, he said: “We sent a humanitarian aid plane to El Arish Airport this morning, which contains medicine, durable food, canned goods, diapers, and medical supplies.”
The Israeli army on Friday ordered all residents of northern Gaza to evacuate their homes and head to the south within 24 hours.
In a dramatic escalation of Middle East tensions, Israeli forces launched a sustained and forceful military campaign against the Gaza Strip, a response to a military offensive by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in Israeli territories.
The conflict began last Saturday when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air.
Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening the living conditions in an area that has reeled under a crippling siege since 2007.