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Israel orders return of diplomats from Turkey as Erdoğan threatens war, say 'Our struggle is not only limited to our borders'

Turkish president calls Israel a 'war criminal' that 'only knows how to kill'

Turkish President Recep Erdogan speaks during a rally in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Istanbul, Turkey, Oct. 28, 2023. (Photo: REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya)

Following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's speech in Istanbul on Saturday, in which he condemned Israel as a “war criminal,” Israel ordered its diplomats to return home for an evaluation of the Turkish-Israeli diplomatic ties.

“Given the grave statements coming from Turkey, I have ordered the return of diplomatic representatives there in order to conduct a reevaluation of the relations between Israel and Turkey,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen wrote on X on Saturday.

Regarding the current conflict, Erdoğan has denounced Israel while refusing to call Hamas a terrorist organization.

“Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a liberation group, mujahideen waging a battle to protect its lands and people,” Erdoğan said last week, while labeling Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip “atrocities” and claiming that the Jewish state "has been carrying out one of the bloodiest, most disgusting and brutal attacks in history against innocent people.”

On Saturday, the Turkish president spoke at a pro-Hamas rally in Istanbul, where he denounced srael as a “war criminal.”

“Israel has been openly committing war crimes for 22 days, but the Western leaders cannot even call on Israel for a ceasefire, let alone react to it,” Erdoğan told a crowd of hundreds of thousands waving Palestinian flags and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greater) at the rally.

“We will tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal. We are making preparations for this. We will declare Israel a war criminal,” he stated.

Erdoğan went on to say that the massacre against civilians was “regrettable” but that there was no “excuse” for Israel’s actions.

“Certainly, in such a climate of fire and blood, there have been regrettable events. However, none of these can serve as an excuse for campaigns aimed at discrediting the resistance carried out by the Palestinian people under various names,” Erdoğan declared.

“I said that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, and Israel was very disturbed by this. Well, we weren't expecting anything else anyway,” the Turkish president added.

Erdoğan also referred the historical borders of the Ottoman Empire and appeared to indicate willingness to join Hamas' struggle.

"We are such a great nation and state that our strength, our problem, our struggle is not only limited to our borders."

The Turkish leader also told the protesters: “From now on, we will continue on our path with the motto that we may suddenly knock on your door one night.”

Since 2011, Turkey has allowed Hamas to operate from an office facility in Istanbul, providing them with Turkish passports and possibly military support as well, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

“In July, Israeli authorities seized 16 tons of explosive material that originated in Turkey and were bound for Gaza, apparently intended for Hamas rockets. While Ankara often declares its desire to ‘normalize’ ties with Israel, Erdogan’s government remains a primary source of support for Hamas and other jihadist entities throughout the region,” the FDD wrote.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said that Erdoğan is antisemitic.

“A snake will remain a snake,” Erdan said, saying that Erdoğan "tried to improve his image but remains an antisemite.”

Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Israel Katz called the Turkish president a supporter of Hamas-ISIS.

“The man of the Muslim Brotherhood supports Hamas-Daesh terror,” Katz wrote on X. “Even his kaffiyeh will not cover up the shame,” he said, referring to Erdoğan.

Israel and Turkey had renewed their diplomatic ties last year and Erdoğan was scheduled to visit Israel but canceled his visit following the Hamas massacre on Oct. 7 and Israel’s response in Gaza since declaring war on the terror group.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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