Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed “the West” for what he called “the massacre unfolding in Gaza” at a huge pro-Palestine rally in Istanbul Saturday — despite his nation’s status as a US ally and member of NATO.
“The main culprit behind the massacre unfolding in Gaza is the West,” Erdogan charged before an audience of several hundred thousand, according to the Times of Israel.
“I reiterate that Hamas is not a terrorist organization,” Erdogan said in remarks broadcast by TRTWorld. “You, Israel, are an occupier, you are an invader … Israel, we will declare you as a war criminal to the world.”
His speech came hours after Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov accused Israel of “violating the norms of international humanitarian law” for its retaliation against Hamas’s bloody Oct. 7 attack on Israeli civilians.
The raid by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,400 Israelis and the kidnapping of more than 200 hostages.
Senior Israeli officials blasted Erdogan’s incendiary comments — and yanked the nation’s diplomats out of Istanbul in response.
“Against the background of the harsh statements from Turkey, I ordered the return of the diplomatic representatives from Turkey in order to conduct a reassessment of Israel-Turkey relations,” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen posted on X.
“Erdogan reveals his true face today,” wrote Energy Minister Israel Katz. The man of the Muslim Brotherhood supports the Hamas-Daesh terrorism. Even his kaffiyeh will not cover the shame!”