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Turkey announces decision to join South Africa in genocide lawsuit against Israel at The Hague

Alongside Nicaragua and Colombia, Turkey seeks to join the lawsuit as petitioners

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan attends a press conference, with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yvan Gil Pinto (not pictured), in Caracas, Venezuela Feb. 24, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria)

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan announced on Wednesday that Turkey has decided to officially join South Africa's lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague. The lawsuit accuses Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

“We presented the results of our assessments today to our president, and in accordance with the political decision that was made, I would like to announce for the first time that we have decided to intervene in the case filed by South Africa against Israel at the International Court of Justice,” Fidan said at a press conference, alongside the Indonesian foreign minister.

"We hope that with this step, the process before the ICJ will move in the right direction."

"Meanwhile, we will continue to work with all friendly and allied countries on what more can be done on this issue and which countries can further apply," the Turkish foreign minister stated, adding, "Turkey will continue to support the Palestinian people in all circumstances.” 

Turkey has previously stated its intention to join the lawsuit. In January, after Turkey presented evidence against Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed: “Israel will be convicted.” 

Turkey joins Nicaragua and Colombia in submitting requests to join the lawsuit originally filed by the government of South Africa. 

In recent months, Erdoğan has faced increasing domestic pressure to act, especially following losses in recent elections.

Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the election in several regions previously considered to be strongholds for the group, as economic woes continue to plague the Turkish leader, including a nearly 70% inflation rate. The Islamic New Welfare Party, which challenged AKP in those regions, pointed out Turkey’s continued trade with Israel in campaign materials. 

Anti-Israel sentiment runs high throughout most of Turkey. On Tuesday, a Turkish tourist visiting Israel was eliminated after stabbing a police officer in the Old City of Jerusalem. Erdoğan condemned the attack and said Turkey "will take necessary measures to prevent it from happening again.”

The Turkish president met with Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh in April, in their first meeting since the Oct. 7 terror attack. Erdoğan has previously stated his Turkey's strong support for Hamas. He also refused calls by several Western nations to label Hamas a terrorist organization. 

Turkey imposed restrictions on exports to Israel at the start of April in retaliation for Israel's refusal to permit Turkish participation in humanitarian aid air drops into the Gaza Strip.

At the time, Fidan announced that his country would unveil its response to Israel’s denial of the humanitarian aid drops but did not specify what the response would entail. 

It is not clear what type of application for intervention Turkey will seek in joining the lawsuit. Neither Nicaragua nor Colombia has had their applications to join the lawsuit approved yet.

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

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