Erdogan Says Israel is Targeting Turkish Territory if Not Stopped


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his televised speech on Wednesday (15/5/2024) said Hamas was defending Turkish land against Israel.

Speaking before Turkey’s parliament in Ankara, Erdogan said Israel would eventually “target” them if it was not stopped.

“Israel is not only attacking Palestinians in Gaza; [it] attacked us. Hamas is the front line of Anatolian defense in Gaza,” he said.

The statement came as bilateral relations hit rock bottom after Ankara completely halted trade with Israel earlier this month, demanding the unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and a ceasefire.

“Israel will be responsible for the 35,000 Palestinians they killed and the 85,000 people they injured. We will support them,” he continued.

“No one expects us to soften our words. These words are as spoiled as they are barbaric. They killed people with the deadliest weapons, hunger and thirst. They take people out of their homes and direct them to supposedly safe areas. “They massacred civilians in safe places,” he said.

Erdogan in April likened Hamas to the Turkish revolutionary forces that helped expel foreign armies from Anatolia in the 1920s.

Although the two countries normalized previously troubled relations and exchanged ambassadors last year, a Hamas-led attack on Israel on October 7 caused a rift that undermined peace.

Türkiye initially muted its criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, and also condemned Hamas attacks on civilians.

However, the government’s attitude changed over time as suffering in the Gaza Strip increased. Türkiye first recalled its ambassador for consultations in November.


Since suffering a major defeat in local elections in Turkey in March, the Turkish government has increasingly intensified its criticism of Israel and taken a series of steps against Netanyahu’s government.

Türkiye also announced earlier this month that it would join South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

Despite this, Israeli sources told Middle East Eye on Monday (13/5/2024) that Israel had begun sending diplomats back to Turkey in early May, half a year after the country withdrew them due to security concerns.

“Because Israel’s departure is for security reasons, Israel is trying to send its diplomats back in stages,” an Israeli source told MEE.

A Turkish official confirmed that Israeli diplomats had returned to their posts.

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