President Erdogan threatens to get involved in Israel war
Turkey’s president appears to have threatened to intervene in Gaza in an impassioned speech at a pro-Palestine rally this evening.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a speech to a rally this afternoon in which he told attendees Israel was responsible for war crimes, and framed Hamas as “freedom fighters”.
In comments that have prompted Israeli outcry, and led the country to withdraw its diplomatic presence, president Erdogan suggested assaults on Gaza constituted a “massacre”.
In the same speech, he reportedly said that Turkey can “come at any night unexpectedly” to ecstatic reception from hundreds of thousands of attendees.
The footage, which is currently circulating on X, formerly known as Twitter, purportedly showed the pro-Palestine crowd responding with the chant: “Turkish military to Gaza.”
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Footage circulating online was posted by news aggregating account Visegrád 24, and showed Mr Erdogan speaking at the event in Turkish.
Thousands of people are seen waving a combination of Turkish and Palestinian flags from the venue in Istanbul, where he was speaking to people attending the Great Palestine meeting.
The account reported the translation earlier this evening, and the video has since been reposted online dozens of times.
News site Politics Today also translated his speech, reporting that his statement was part of a “motto”.
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According to the site, he said: “From now on, we will continue on our path with the motto that we may suddenly knock on your door one night.”
In the same speech, Mr Erdogan accused Israel of carrying out war crimes in Gaza, and compared the country’s actions to the Nazi genocide against the Jews.
He claimed that Israel “has been openly committing war crimes for 22 days”, as he alleged a “similar mentality” was being shown to the Axis members during World War Two.
He said: “In the past they were massacring the Jewish people in the gas chambers and they were indeed wiping out whole regions with bombs.” The Turkish premier then added: “A similar mentality is being shown in Gaza today.”
In response to Israel’s actions, Mr Erdogan said, his government was preparing to “tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal”.
The speech went down poorly with Israeli officials, who quickly responded by withdrawing diplomatic staffers from Turkey.
Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen said the statements coming from Turkey had “led him to conduct a re-evaluation of the relations between Israel and Turkey”.
He said in a statement: “Given the grave statements coming from Turkey, I have ordered the return of diplomatic representatives there in order to conduct a re-evaluation of the relations between Israel and Turkey.”
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