Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed Saturday “Jews in Israel” beat defenseless Palestinian people, including women and children, and threatened to “teach them a lesson.”
“The Jews in Israel kick people when they’re lying on the ground. In fact, Jews kick not only men, but women and children as well…as Muslims, we will confront these people if they have courage to deal with us. We’ll teach them a lesson” Erdogan told Turkish youth at a meeting of the Turkey Youth Foundation.
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Since local elections in Turkey are to take place in about three months, the Israeli assessment is that Erdogan, who has long been a harsh critic of Israel, was politically motivated to incite against the Jewish State.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Erdogan‘s comments Saturday. “Erdogan—the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey– shouldn’t preach to Israel,” he said.
At a Foreign Ministry conference in early December, Netanyahu referred to Israeli-Turkish relations: “There is an ‘improvement’ in our relations with Turkey—Instead of every two days, Erdogan now calls me Hitler only every six days, despite the fact that Turkey has received several warnings from Israeli intelligence that prevented major terror attacks on Turkish soil. Israel has prevented dozens of catastrophic terrorist attacks and aircraft’s downings. No country in the world has our intelligence.”
In the past few days, Erdogan has been encouraged and inspired by Washington’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria. According to Officials in Washington and Ankara, US President Donald Trump made the decision rashly and on his own, following a phone conversation with the Turkish president.
“When I became president, ISIS was going wild. Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We’re coming home!” the American president said on Twitter Saturday.
In addition, official said that Trump made the decision without consulting with security officials or any of his allies, and in spite of fierce opposition of those involved in the fight against the Islamic State (IS).
Reports also stated that Erdogan claimed “ISIS has been beaten,” and wondered why US forces are still deployed in Syria.
Trump then asked US National Security Adviser John Bolton, who had listened in on his phone call with Erdogan, whether this was true—to which Bolton answered that it was, but added that US troops must remain in Syria. As a result, Trump told his Turkish counterpart that he would withdraw all American forces from Syria. The Associated Press reported that Trump’s reckless decision shocked both Erdogan and Bolton.