Israel has recalled its diplomats in Turkiye after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the country a ‘pawn’ that would be disregarded when the time came.
Addressing a large public meeting in Istanbul on Saturday, Erdogan had accused the west of forming the atmosphere of a ‘crusader war’. He addressed the gathering while wearing a scarf showing colours of Palestine and Turkiye.
“I am asking West, do you want to create another Crusader War atmosphere?” he asked, adding: “The main culprit behind the massacre unfolding in Gaza is the West.”
Erdogan also said that the massacre of the Palestinian population was being legitimised and that Turkiye conisdered the actions to amount to war crimes.
“Israel, we will also declare you as a war criminal to the world, we are preparing for it, and we will introduce Israel to the world as a war criminal,” Turkish news agency Anadolu quoted him as saying.
Everyone knows that Israel is a pawn in the region that will be sacrificed when the time comes, Erdogan added.
He also praised the determination of the Palestinian people in the face of bombardment as they refused to leave their homes.
“Despite this grim situation, the dignified, determined, and faithful stance of the people of Gaza will be recorded in history as a glorious epic of resistance,” he said.
The president said that he was saddened by civilian deaths and added that he did not condone the actions by Hamas that began the latest round of hostilities. However, he still said that he does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist organisation.
“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 president said.
He reiterated a call for the siege of Gaza to end and for food and medicine to be allowed into the strip.
“Come today and take a positive step, perhaps for the first time in your life, for your own and your children’s future,” he said.
Following the speech, Israel recalled its diplomats from the country, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said.
“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,” Cohen wrote Saturday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.