Turkish president blasts Israeli premier for ‘daring’ to attend Paris rally
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday blasted Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu for “daring” to attend an anti-terror solidarity march in Paris, accusing him of leading “state terrorism” against the Palestinians.
The comments, at a press conference in Ankara with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, were the latest verbal assault against Netanyahu by Erdogan under whose rule Turkey’s relations with Israel have steadily deteriorated.
He said he could “hardly understand how he (Netanyahu) dared to go” to Sunday’s massive march in the French capital and urged him to “give an account for the children, women you massacred.”
Abbas and Netanyahu, as well as Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, joined the solidarity march in Paris in the memory of 17 people killed in Islamist terror attacks last week.
But Erdogan said Netanyahu had no right to be there after nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel’s onslaught on Hamas-controlled Gaza earlier this year.
“How can you see this individual, who carries out state terrorism by massacring 2,500 people in Gaza, waving his hand?” said Erdogan.
“He is waving his hand as if people are very enthusiastically waiting for him,” added Erdogan, referring to the images of Netanyahu acknowledging supporters in Paris.
The Turkish president is known for his angry outbursts at the Jewish state, declaring in July that Israel had “surpassed Hitler in barbarism”.
In 2009, Erdogan walked off the stage at the World Economic Forum after an angry exchange with the the then Israeli president, Shimon Peres.
“Turkey will continue to fight… against Israel’s reckless actions that do not recognise law,” the Turkish president said.
The Paris rally, which drew 1.5 million people, put Netanyahu and Abbas in the closest proximity for some time, with the Middle East peace talks deadlocked.
Abbas said on Monday he had participated in the rally at the invitation of French President Francois Hollande.
“I haven’t seen anyone trying to prevent me from doing so. I was welcomed very well,” he said.
“We have a strong relationship with France … I received an invitation from the president and participated.”
Israeli media reported earlier that France had asked Netanyahu to stay away from the march but he ignored the request and attended anyway.
The same message was conveyed to Abbas, Channel Two television and Israeli newspapers reported. But when Netanyahu rejected the appeals of the French government, Abbas was swiftly invited, they said.