President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he “crossed out” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that Türkiye will file a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the country’s war crimes and human rights violations in Gaza.
The embattled premier “is no longer someone we can talk to; we have crossed him out,” Erdoğan told reporters on Friday aboard the presidential plane returning from Kazakhstan, where he attended the Organization of Turkic States summit.
“I said something in my speech at the Palestine Rally. I announced that we would support initiatives that would bring Israel’s human rights violations and war crimes to the ICC. Our relevant authorities, especially our Foreign Ministry, will carry out this work,” the president added.
He said that Netanyahu has lost the support of Israeli citizens and he wants to garner support for massacres through religious rhetoric.
“What the Torah is he talking about?” Erdoğan said about Netanyahu’s recent remarks on Amalek, the ancient nation described in the sacred book as a staunch enemy of the Israelites.
“Don’t the Ten Commandments include ‘Thou shalt not kill’ as an order?” he questioned.
What Netanyahu is doing is “purely public relations, a populist approach,” Erdoğan further said.
“The Israeli administration systematically usurps Palestinians’ homes, streets, workplaces and living spaces,” he said, adding that Israel does not “grant them the right to live.”
“The occupation has become widespread after invaders who they call ‘settlers’ were placed into the homes of Palestinians. They want to justify the war crimes committed by the Israeli army with religious rhetoric,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also said Ankara “is ready to act as a guarantor country for Gaza” after clashes, reiterating Türkiye’s support for the Gazan people amid Israel’s ongoing aggression.
Erdoğan criticizes the EU and the global community for turning a blind eye to Israel’s attacks
The global community and the EU have turned a blind eye to Israel’s attacks to destroy Gaza’s health infrastructure, leaving infants and civilians for dead, Erdoğan said.
Accusing the EU of displaying a “very strange and inconsistent role,” Erdoğan said that the EU “did not and could not put forward a fair approach.”
“Pay attention to who is currently on Israel’s side and who is also left out of the diplomatic processes in the Russia-Ukraine war. (It is) the European Union.”
“Our trust in the EU has been shattered,” he added.
“The EU administration must first think carefully about the issue of trust in international law and the universal values they mention at every opportunity. While hospitals are being hit, civilians are being killed in refugee camps and Israel is spewing death into places of worship, schools and marketplaces, they have to explain where they stand,” Erdoğan said.
“What does the EU administration propose?” he asked. “To pave the way for the complete occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel and to end the existence of Palestine?”
The president also emphasized that “it is the time to defend human life and the right to live.”
The Israeli army has widened its air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has been under relentless airstrikes since the surprise offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.
Ankara has floated a guarantorship model for the ongoing conflict where both Israel and Palestine would have guarantor countries, namely Saudi Arabia or Türkiye, as well as Western nations experienced in mediation.
Türkiye has also sent 10 planeloads of humanitarian aid to Gaza, which Erdoğan assured would continue “so long as conditions allow.”
Humanitarian aid has only been trickling into the blockaded city through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing, which the U.N. and human rights organizations have warned would “be nowhere nearly enough.”
At least 9,488 Palestinians, including 3,900 children, have been killed in Israeli attacks since then, while the Israeli death toll has topped 1,500, according to official figures.
Basic supplies are running low for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents due to the Israeli siege, in addition to the large number of casualties and displacements.