"You can have as many nuclear bombs as you want, but you're on your way out," said Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his wife, Emine, at a rally in Istanbul in support of the Palestinians, Oct. 28, 2023. Source: Facebook/Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
(November 19, 2023 / JNS)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told his country’s parliament on Wednesday that Israel would soon be destroyed.
“Right now, I am openly saying with clear conscience that Israel is a terrorist state,” said Erdoğan.
While this comment was widely reported, his subsequent remarks went largely unnoticed.
“Hey Israel: You have an atomic bomb, a nuclear bomb. And you are making threats with this. We know this. And your end is near,” said Erdoğan.
“You can have as many nuclear bombs as you want, but you’re on your way out,” he added.
Turkish lawmakers responded to the message with a thunderous standing ovation.
On Friday, Erdoğan suggested that Germany’s support for Israel in its war against Hamas was due to guilt over the Holocaust.
“The Israeli-Palestinian war should not be evaluated with a psychology of indebtedness. I speak freely because we do not owe anything to Israel,” Erdoğan said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“Those who feel indebted to Israel cannot speak freely. We did not go through the Holocaust process, we don’t have such a situation, because our respect for humanity is different,” added the Turkish leader.
Ahead of Erdoğan’s visit to Berlin, Scholz had described Ankara’s accusations of fascism against Israel as “absurd.”
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed Erdoğan for supporting Hamas and bombing Turkish villages, in a likely reference to Ankara’s violent oppression of Kurds.
“So, we’re not going to take any lectures from them,” said Netanyahu.
Erdoğan had claimed earlier on Wednesday that Israel was attempting to eradicate the Gaza Strip, threatening to take steps to ensure that Jerusalem’s political and military leaders are brought to trial in international courts.
The Turkish president also described Hamas terrorists as “resistance fighters” defending Palestinian lands.
Days earlier, Erdoğan said at a mass rally in Istanbul that “Hamas is not a terrorist organization” but rather “a liberation group fighting to protect its lands.” He previously argued that Gaza’s rulers constituted “a group of mujahideen [‘jihadists’] defending their lands and people.”
After a long diplomatic cold spell, prior to Oct. 7 ties between Ankara and Jerusalem had been warming.
On Sept. 20, during a meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Netanyahu told Erdoğan that “our ties are improving,” and the two leaders agreed to continue advancing bilateral relations.
Netanyahu was expected to visit Turkey before December, becoming the first Israeli premier to do so since 2008. Erdoğan planned to visit the Jewish state in return, his office announced in late September.
However, Erdoğan recently told lawmakers that he had dropped his planned trip to Jerusalem. “We had a project to go to Israel, but it was canceled; we will not go,” he said.
Erdoğan has long been a champion of the Palestinians, and his government harbors members of Hamas. Last year saw the 10th anniversary of the official establishment of Hamas’s offices in Istanbul.