PM Netanyahu has responded to President Erdogan's ?terror state? speech
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday rejected criticism from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying that Türkiye was the real sponsor of terrorism and had no right to lecture anyone.
"He calls Israel a terrorist state, but in fact supports the terrorist state of Hamas," Netanyahu said in a statement quoted by Israeli media. "He himself bombed Turkish villages within [his] borders - we will not accept preaching from him."
Ankara has waged war on Kurdish separatists both in Turkish territory and abroad for years. Just last month, it launched a series of airstrikes against Kurds in Syria and Iraq.
Earlier on Wednesday, in a speech to his Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan accused Israel of being a "terror state" for what it has done to the Palestinians of Gaza.
"Israel sticks to a strategy of total destruction of the city and its people. It is brutally wreaking state terror, deliberately bombing civilians on the run. I say openly, with a clear heart, that Israel is a terror state," the Turkish leader said.
Erdogan argued that Israel has been "continuously committing war crimes for the last 40 days," deliberately targeting "hospitals, streets and mosques" in Gaza with the full backing of the US and the West.
He also accused Netanyahu of "carrying out the most heinous attack against women and children in all of history" and threatening people with nuclear weapons.
Earlier this month, Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu suggested using a nuclear weapon - which Israel has neither confirmed nor denied having - against Gaza. His remarks caused widespread condemnation both in Arab countries and at home.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant condemned Eliyahu's words as "baseless and irresponsible," while opposition leader Yair Lapid called on Netanyahu to fire the minister for causing "harm to the families of the hostages, Israeli society, and our international standing." Eliyahu insisted his comments were "metaphorical" and ended up getting suspended.
Israel declared war on the Palestinian militant group Hamas after it killed more than 1,200 Israelis in the October 7 incursion into nearby villages and outposts. The Palestinian enclave has been under a total blockade and strikes by the Israeli military ever since.