Erdogan to declare Israel war criminals as Turkey rallies behind Hamas

Turkey’s President Erdogan is set to launch a “global initiative” to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip as his country prepares to officially proclaim Israel a war criminal, according to the pro-government newspaper Hurriyet.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously threw his weight behind Hamas claiming the group was ” not a terrorist organization, but a group of freedom and mujahideen [warriors] who are striving to protect their lands and their citizens”.

Now, the leader is aiming to start a “global initiative” to call for a ceasefire in Israel to end what he has branded as war crimes against Palestine.

He said: ” I will call each of the world leaders, negotiate with them, and meet with them if necessary. I intend to launch a joint global initiative on Gaza with leaders, presidents and prime ministers.”

At a rally in Istanbul late last month, he announced Turkey’s intention to proclaim Israel as a “war criminal” breaking from NATO and EU allies which have backed Tel Aviv’s right to self-defence.

READ MORE: Hamas rocket expert responsible for innocent civilian deaths killed in airstrike

The Turkish President said: “Israel, we will proclaim you as a war criminal to the world. We are making our preparations, and we will declare Israel to the world as a war criminal.”

At least 1,400 Israelis were killed when Hamas launched an unprecedented terrorist attack which saw thousands of fighters flood into Israel on October 7. Most of those killed were civilians and around 240 hostages were taken to Gaza.

Israel responded with a massive air campaign striking thousands of targets in the strip and has since expanded ground operations to encircle Gaza City.

The EU – which Turkey aspires to join – has said it is in “complete disagreement” with Erdogan’s stance on Hamas. The US, EU and UK consider the group a terrorist organisation.

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President Erdogan threatens to get involved in Israel war

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The European Commission report released Wednesday outlined “serious deficiencies” in Turkey’s democratic institutions as well as “deterioration of human and fundamental rights” in the country.

Erdogan, whose ruling party has roots in Turkey’s Islamic movement, has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians since coming into office in 2003.

Israel, for its part, said it was reassessing its relations with Turkey following Erdogan’s comments. The move could move could sever the newly restored diplomatic ties between the two countries.

The news comes as Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry claims that more than 10,000 people have died there since the start of the war.

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