Turkiye’s Erdogan calls Israeli response to Hamas in Gaza a ‘massacre’

Turkiye’s Erdogan calls Israeli response to Hamas in Gaza a ‘massacre’
Turkiye’s Erdogan calls Israeli response to Hamas in Gaza a ‘massacre’

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said Israel’s blockade and bombing of Gaza in response to Palestinian militant group Hamas’ attack was a disproportionate response amounting to a massacre. — Reuters pic

ANKARA, Oct 12 — Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said Israel’s blockade and bombing of Gaza in response to Palestinian militant group Hamas’ attack was a disproportionate response amounting to a “massacre”, but repeated Ankara’s offer to mediate.

With Ankara offering to mediate between the sides this week, Erdogan and his foreign minister held calls with regional powers and Western counterparts. However, Israel’s envoy to Ankara on Sunday said it was too early to discuss mediation.

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Erdogan, speaking to his ruling AK Party in parliament, said even war has a “morality” but the flare-up since the weekend “very severely” violated that.

“Preventing people meeting their most fundamental needs and bombing housing where civilians live - in short, conducting a conflict using every sort of shameful method — is not a war, it’s a massacre,” he said, referring to Israel cutting off electricity and water to Gaza and destroying infrastructure.

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Turkiye, which has backed Palestinians in the past and hosted members of Hamas while supporting a two-state solution, has been working to mend ties with Israel after years of acrimony. Unlike the European Union and United States, Ankara does not view Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

While not openly blaming Israel, Turkiye has said that the latest fighting is due to years of injustices against Palestinians and that the only path to peace is the formation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state.

Erdogan yesterday criticised Israel’s “disproportionate” attacks on Gaza as “devoid of any ethical foundation,” and urged the world not to “blindly” take one side. Leaving the underlying issue unresolved would lead to new, more violent conflicts, he warned.

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“We call on countries in the Americas, Europe and other regions to take up a position between the parties that is fair, just, and based on humanitarian balances,” he said. “Everyone should refrain from acts that will wholly punish the Palestinian people, like blocking humanitarian aid.”

Erdogan later on Wednesday held a call with Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss developments, the Turkish presidency said, adding that Erdogan “stated the need to be vigilant against the possibility of conflicts spreading to the wider region.”

Hamas members in Turkiye’s parliament

Separately on Wednesday, members of Hudapar, an Islamist political party allied with Erdogan’s Ak Party, met with senior Hamas official Bassem Naim and held a news conference in parliament alongside him.

Hudapar Secretary General Sahzade Demir said Naim had come to recount “the Zionist savagery” to politicians, adding that Israel had declared war on Islam and its values. He also slammed what he called the “passive stance” of Muslim countries against the violence as “an embarrassment” and urged Turkiye’s parliament to condemn Israel at a special session today.

Temel Karamollaoglu, leader of Islamist opposition Felicity Party, met Naim and Hamas’ Turkey representative Musa Akkari as well, the party said.

Erdogan has also previously met Hamas members.

Demir also called for support for a rally, dubbed the “Friday Flood” in reference to Hamas’ “Aqsa Flood” offensive against Israel, to be held in Istanbul on Friday. — Reuters

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