Turkish president calls for Israeli officials to be tried for war crimes amid escalating tensions with Israel.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has intensified his criticism of Israel, labeling it a “terror state” and condemning its military campaign in the Gaza Strip as “the most treacherous attacks in human history”. Erdogan accused Israel of receiving “unlimited” support from the West for its actions.
He also called for Israeli leaders to be brought before the International Court of Justice in The Hague to face war crimes charges, while reiterating his belief that Hamas is a political party rather than a terrorist organization.
In a fiery address to his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) members, Erdogan stated, “I say clearly that Israel is a terror state, and we do not forget those who openly support these massacres and those who legitimize them,” pointing to the United States and other Western allies of Israel.
Furthermore, Erdogan demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reveal whether Israel possesses nuclear weapons, and suggested that Netanyahu’s tenure as Prime Minister is nearing its end. He also vowed to take steps to label Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territories as “terrorists”.
In response, Netanyahu dismissed Erdogan’s criticisms, stating that he will not be “morally lectured” by the Turkish leader and accusing Erdogan of supporting “the terrorist state Hamas”.
Erdogan’s rhetoric has intensified as casualties in Gaza have mounted, with health officials reporting over 11,300 deaths, including more than 4,000 children. Turkey has also recalled its ambassador to Israel and suspended official contacts with Netanyahu.
Meanwhile, Israel has indicated it is “re-evaluating” relations with Turkey, and Erdogan’s comments have sparked debate ahead of his scheduled meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Chancellor Scholz, who has defended his decision to meet with Erdogan, has emphasized his opposition to an “immediate ceasefire” in Gaza, echoing the US government’s position and calling for “humanitarian pauses” instead.