Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (pictured) has said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has committed crimes against humanity comparable to those of the gunmen who killed 17 people in attacks in Paris last week.
Speaking to reporters in televised comments on Thursday, Davutoglu said, “Netanyahu has committed crimes against humanity the same like those terrorists who carried out the Paris massacre.”
Davutoglu referred to the killing of nine Turkish civilians by Israeli commandoes who attacked a “Freedom Flotilla” trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza in May 2010 and continued:
Netanyahu, as the head of a government that massacred children playing on a beach in Gaza through aerial bombing, that destroyed thousands of houses, that made the killing of Palestinians routine on all occasions, that killed our citizens on board a humanitarian aid ship in international waters, committed crimes against humanity just like those terrorists who carried out the Paris massacre. He can’t escape this.
Netanyahu and Davutoglu were both among world leaders who gathered in Paris on Sunday in memory of the 17 people killed in attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine, a policewoman, and a kosher supermarket.
Tension rose the next day when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking alongside Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, said he could “hardly understand how [Netanyahu] dared to go” the march. He accused Netanyahu of leading “State terrorism” against Palestinians and urged the Israeli Prime Minister to “give an account for the children, women you massacred”.
Netanyahu responded on Wednesday night, “I believe [Erdoğan’s] shameful remarks must be repudiated by the international community, because the war against terror will only succeed if it’s guided by moral clarity.”
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Erdoğan an “anti-Semitic neighborhood bully” and accused Europe of contributing to increased anti-Semitism by ignoring the Turkish President’s recent statements.
Turkish-Israeli relations, once close, have been strained in recent years by the Palestinian issue, especially after the May 2010 killing of the Turkish civilians. Diplomatic relations were downgraded, and there were threats of restriction or even cut-off of economic and military links.