Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday described Israel as a “terrorist state” and said that it “kills children,” leading to a sharp rebuke from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Palestine is an innocent victim… As for Israel, it is a terrorist state, yes, terrorist!” Erdogan said in a speech in the central city of Sivas, AFP reported. “We will not abandon Jerusalem to the mercy of a state that kills children.”
He spoke days after President Trump announced the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered the State Department to start the process of moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv, a decision that has angered the Palestinians and their allies across Europe and the Middle East.
Erdogan said Turkey would continue its diplomatic efforts to reverse Trump’s announcement, which he calls “null.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris after the two leaders met, responded to Erdogan:
“I‘m not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, helps Iran go around international sanctions and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people,” Netanyahu said.