Israel incensed as Erdogan vows to ‘send Netanyahu to Allah’

Israel incensed as Erdogan vows to ‘send Netanyahu to Allah’
Israeli foreign minister issued a furious response to Erdogan. / US Embassy, Jerusalem
By bne IntelliNews March 22, 2024

Turkish and Israeli diplomats are embroiled in a furious row after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed at a March 21 local election rally to “send [Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu] to Allah to take care of him, make him miserable and curse him”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on March 22 hit back, ordering his ministry to summon Turkey’s acting envoy to Israel for a “serious reprimand”.

Writing on social media platform X, Katz said: “I instructed officials to summon the Turkish deputy ambassador to Israel for a serious reprimand, following Erdogan’s serious attack on Prime Minister Netanyahu and his threats to send PM Netanyahu to Allah and to convey a clear message to Erdogan.

“You who support the burning of babies, murderers, rapists and the mutilation of corpses by Hamas criminals, [are] the last one who can speak about God. There is no God who will listen to those who support the atrocities and crimes against humanity committed by your barbaric Hamas friends. Be quiet and shame on you!”

Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas remain locked in a war in the Gaza Strip, which the Israelis invaded after last year’s October 7 Hamas-led armed incursions into Israel that involved the massacre of hundreds of civilians. Israel’s response in Gaza aimed at “crushing” Hamas has caused mass civilian deaths that the Palestinian group says include over 12,300 children and 8,400 women.

The Turkish deputy ambassador is serving as Turkey’s envoy to Israel as Turkey withdrew its ambassador at the start of the war.

While Israel insists Hamas should always be described as “terrorists”, Erdogan refers to them as “freedom fighters.”

“No one can make us qualify Hamas as a terrorist organisation,” he said in a speech in Istanbul earlier in the month. “Turkey is a country that speaks openly with Hamas leaders and firmly backs them.”

He also asserted that “Netanyahu and his administration, with their crimes against humanity in Gaza, are writing their names next to Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, like today’s Nazis.”

Turkey says Netanyahu and Israel are guilty of horrendous war crimes in Gaza, though Turkey and Erdogan at the same time stand accused of committing war crimes as part of the Turkish occupation of parts of northern Syria.

Turkey admits to having hosted some of Hamas’ leaders, but says they only represented the group’s political wing. Israel says it has provided Turkish intelligence with evidence that members of Hamas’s military wing operate in Turkey.