Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu labelled Benjamin Netanyahu “a cold-blooded killer of modern times”, in a Tweet on Sunday, adding that the prime minister was “responsible for massacres of thousands of innocent Palestinians”.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been tense this year over multiple issues including a controversial law passed by the Israeli parliament in July which defined the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people.
Netanyahu said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “should not preach to Israel” after the Turkish leader warned young Turks on Saturday: “Do not kick the enemy you have brought down to the ground. You are not a Jew in Israel.”
Netanyahu said Erdogan was “the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey” in a tweet late on Saturday.
Erdogan – the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey – should not preach to Israel.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) December 22, 2018
Erdogan’s spokesperson and chief adviser Ibrahim Kalin lambasted Netanyahu, who he said “should end the lawless occupation of Palestinian lands and the brutal oppression of Palestinian people” instead of “begging President Erdogan not to speak out the truth”.
Kalin added in the tweet on Sunday: “Bashing Erdogan or using Kurds as a political chip will not save him from his domestic troubles.”
Instead of begging President Erdoğan not to speak out the truth, @netanyahu should end the lawless occupation of Palestinian lands and the brutal oppression of Palestinian people. Bashing Erdoğan or using Kurds as a political chip will not save him from his domestic troubles. https://t.co/I6YdwDP2v4
— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) December 23, 2018
On December 14, Erdogan also said Palestinians were subjected to “pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during the second world war”, referring to the Holocaust.
Turkey-Israel ties have been strained since Ankara ordered the Israeli ambassador to leave Turkey in May over the killing of protesters along the separation fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Erdogan, who regards himself as a champion of the Palestinians, has bitterly criticised Israel previously, calling it in July “the world’s most fascist and racist state”.