Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at Israel and compared it to Nazi Germany, accusing the Jewish state of “trying to erase the traces of the Islamic heritage in Jerusalem for the last 50 years.”
“You [Israel] will not be able to wipe them out,” Erdogan said Friday at the second “Conference of the Association of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds [Jerusalem],” in Istanbul.
“Today, the Palestinians are subjected to pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during WWII,” the president said, according to an online transcript of his speech.
“To us, it does not matter who the perpetrator is. Both of these are massacres, atrocities and oppressions. Shelling with bombs the children playing on the beach of Gaza is as serious a crime against humanity as the inhumane crime called the Holocaust.”
Erdogan said criticizing Israel never means anti-Semitism, adding: “Some European countries side with the U.S. and do not raise voice against Israeli occupation policies due to shameful scenes from World War II.”
Jerusalem is not merely a cause of a handful of Muslims in Palestine, he continued, but “our common cause”, blaming the West for fanning strife in the Muslim world for financial gain.
“When the tension escalates in the Islamic world, Western companies’ profits rise accordingly. When the conflicts escalate in the Middle East, Western governments sell more weapons,” he said.
Conflict has been ignited between Sunni and Shiite Muslims with the aim of splitting Islam and its followers, he said.
“The winner of such a conflict would never be Muslims. In such a landscape, Western arms and oil companies would be the ones to fill their pockets. Those, who drew our region’s map in line with their interests a century ago, are now playing on our differences for the same purpose. None of us must fall for such a plot.”
This is the second time this year Erdogan has delivered a rhetorical broadside against Israel.
After Turkey recalled its ambassadors to Israel and the United States in May to protest the Israeli response to riots along the Gaza border fence, he called Israel a “terror state” and denounced its actions as “genocide.”
The use of the word “genocide” by the Turkish president followed the anniversary of the Armenian and Assyrian genocides, which the Turkish state continues not to recognize.
The Turkish parliament recently rejected a bill that would have formally recognized the Armenian genocide, even as thousands marched around the world to commemorate the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in 1915.
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: email@example.com