TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “butcher” after the Turkish president branded him a “terrorist” and Israel a “terrorist state” over the IDF’s actions in Gaza.
“Erdogan is not used to being talked back to. He should start getting used to it. He who occupies Northern Cyprus and the Kurdish region, and butchers civilians in Afrin, should not lecture us about morality and values,” Netanyahu tweeted.
PM Netanyahu: Erdogan is not used to being talked back to. He should start getting used to it. He who occupies Northern Cyprus and the Kurdish region and butchers civilians in Afrin should not lecture us about morality and values.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) April 1, 2018
On Sunday, the Turkish president accused the Israeli prime minister of being “a terrorist” in his televised speech.
“Hey Netanyahu! You are an occupier,” Erdogan said. “We don’t have the shame of invading on us, Netanyahu. You are an invader and right now are present in those lands as an invader. At the same time, you are a terrorist.”
Turkey invaded and then annexed areas of northern Cypus in 1974 in a move that remains unrecognized by the international community.
The Afrin region in Syria has entered the third month of a Turkish offensive designed to weed out the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey deems a terrorist group. The U.S. considers the YPG to have a key role in the fight against Islamic State terrorists. According to the UN, 170,000 people have fled Afrin as a result of Turkish air strikes and a ground offensive, and dozens of civilians have been killed.
“What you do to the oppressed Palestinians will be part of history and we will never forget it,” Erdogan said in speech in Adana. “The Israeli people are uncomfortable with what you’re doing. We are not guilty of any act of occupation.”
In a separate speech, Erdogan said, “You are a terrorist state. It is known what you have done in Gaza and what you have done in Jerusalem. You have no one that likes you in the world.”
Earlier on Sunday Netanyahu blasted Erdogan over his hypocrisy in calling the situation in Gaza an “inhumane attack” on Palestinians.
“The most moral army in the world will not accept moral preaching from someone who for years has been bombing a civilian population indiscriminately,” he said, referring to Turkish persecution of the Kurds.
“That’s apparently how Ankara marks [April Fool’s Day],” Netanyahu tweeted in Hebrew.
At least 10 of the 16 Palestinians killed on Friday during clashes on the border with Gaza were identified as members of terror groups, the IDF said Saturday.
The army published a list of the terrorists along with their positions in various terror groups – with eight of them coming from Hamas. The riots saw rocks and Molotov cocktails hurled at Israeli soldiers along the border from a crowd of some 30,000 Gazans attempting to storm the fence. There was an instance of live fire as one rioter shot at IDF troops.
The “March of the Return” was initially billed as a “non-violent” protest that organizers promised would take place a half-mile away from the border fence, with no attempts to breach it.
The IDF responded mainly with tear gas and rubber bullets, and only rioters who explicitly used violence against troops or who were seen damaging or breaching the security fence were targeted with live fire, the army stated.
Some of the terrorists who were killed were said to have attempted to place bombs along the fence.
Friday’s “day of rage” coincided with both Passover eve and Palestinian Land Day, which marks events in 1976 that reflect the Palestinians’ struggle to own the land. The protest will be ongoing until May 15’s Nakba Day – the day of “catastrophe” that marks the establishment of the State of Israel.