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Israel a 'terror state' - Erdogan
16 Nov 2023, 00:39 GMT+10

The Turkish president has urged Benjamin Netanyahu to reveal whether Israel has nuclear weapons

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a "goner," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, branding Israel a "terror state" that is committing "genocide" in Gaza. He also challenged Netanyahu to reveal whether the country possesses nuclear weapons, noting, however, that such an arsenal won't help the embattled prime minister anyway. 

Trkiye's president made the remarks on Wednesday as he addressed the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting in Ankara. Erdogan launched several personal attacks at the Israeli leader, claiming that Netanyahu is bound to lose his post regardless of how the hostilities in Gaza play out. 

"We see Netanyahu flanked by ministers during his news conferences. He thinks these ministers will save him. Netanyahu is a goner," Erdogan said.

In his speech, Erdogan doubled down on his assessment of the conflict in the Gaza as "genocide" being committed by Israel. Those remaining silent on the Israeli actions in the Palestinian enclave and its alleged crimes against humanity are as "complicit in those crimes as the perpetrators," he stressed. 

Trkiye will "work to bring this case to the International Court of Justice," Erdogan said, reiterating Ankara's threat to file a lawsuit with the body. While the country cannot do it directly, given that it never ratified the Rome Statute that established the court, government bodies and NGOs can "inform the prosecutor's office" of alleged crimes and ask for an investigation, according to Turkish media reports.

The Turkish president also challenged Netanyahu to officially reveal whether Israel has nuclear weapons. 

"Do you have an atomic bomb or not? I challenge Netanyahu to declare it, but I don't think he can. You can threaten people any way you can, but the end is near for Netanyahu," Erdogan said, apparently referring to explosive remarks by Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu, who suggested nuking Gaza. The remarks were widely criticized both in Israel and overseas, with the minister ending up suspended. 

Israel has never publicly confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons, yet it's widely believed to possess them since the late 1960s. According to independent estimates, it has around 90 warheads in its stock.

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