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Turkish President Erdoğan tells UN Secretary General Israel must be held accountable for 'war crimes'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is participating in the Algerian-Turkish economic forum in Algiers, Algeria, November 21, 2023. (Photo: Billel Bensalem / APP/NurPhoto)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Israel of “war crimes” and said that it must be brought to an international court for trial.

Erdoğan made his remarks during a phone call with with UN Secretary General António Guterres on Tuesday, ahead of the UN Security Council meeting on Gaza planned for Wednesday.

According to a statement from Erdoğan's office, the two men discussed the “expectations of the international community regarding Israel's unlawful attacks” and access of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip during the phone call.

Erdoğan told Guterres that Israel “continues to shamelessly trample on international law, the laws of war, and international humanitarian law by looking in the eyes of the international community, and it must be held accountable for the crimes it committed in front of international law,” according to the statement.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, who is expected to attend the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York on Wednesday, will also meet foreign ministers from the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

At the end of October, Israel recalled its ambassador to Turkey for an evaluation of Turkish-Israeli diplomatic ties after Erdoğan condemned Israel as a “war criminal.”

“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 said at the time.

The Turkish president has also refused to condemn Hamas.

“Hamas is not a terrorist organization, it is a liberation group, mujahideen, waging a battle to protect its lands and people,” Erdoğan said last month, while labeling Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip as “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.”

Israel clearly condemned Erdoğan's statements.

“Israel rejects with disgust the Turkish president’s dangerous statements about the terrorist organization Hamas," adding: "Hamas is an abominable terrorist organization worse than ISIS that brutally and intentionally murders babies, children, women and the elderly, takes civilians hostage, and uses its own people as human shields,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated.

Erdoğan has also called Israel’s military ground operation in Gaza an act of “genocide” and has called Israel is a “terrorist state,” and demanding an immediate ceasefire to discuss a two-state solution.

Turkey is one of a few countries that maintain ties with Hamas. Since 2011, Turkey has allowed Hamas members to operate out of an office facility in Istanbul, providing leaders with Turkish passports and ostensibly becoming a material supporter and enabler of the terror organization.

In July, Israeli authorities seized 16 tons of explosive material that originated in Turkey and was bound for Gaza, apparently intended to be used for Hamas rockets.

While Ankara often declares its desire to ‘normalize’ ties with Israel, Erdoğan's government remains a primary source of support for Hamas and other jihadist entities throughout the region.

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

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