The Turkish president asks if what the Israeli leader is doing in the besieged enclave is ‘any less than what Hitler did’.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler, likening Israel’s assault on Gaza to Nazi Germany’s killing of Jews.
In remarks at an awards ceremony in capital Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan asked what difference there was between Netanyahu and Hitler.
Netanyahu later responded by pointing to Turkey’s own history of alleged rights abuses.
“They used to speak ill of Hitler. What difference do you have from Hitler? They are going to make us miss Hitler. Is what this Netanyahu is doing any less than what Hitler did? It is not,” Erdogan said.
“He is richer than Hitler, he gets the support from the West. All sorts of support comes from the United States. And what did they do with all this support? They killed more than 20,000 Gazans,” he said.
Erdogan’s remarks have come as Turkey ratchets up criticism of Israelreversing a trend of growing ties between the two nations before Israel’s assault on Gaza took a devastating humanitarian toll that has sparked outrage across the region.
The Turkish leader has previously levelled harsh criticism at Netanyahu and Israel, calling Israel a “terror state” with “unlimited” Western support in November.
Under Hitler’s rule, Nazi Germany embarked on an effort to systematically eliminate European Jews, killing six million through death and labour camps, mass shootings, and a variety of other methods.
The Israeli prime minister later hit back at Erdogan, criticising Turkey for its own record of alleged rights abuses at home and in its conflict with Kurdish armed groups.
“Erdogan, who commits genocide against the Kurds, who holds a world record for imprisoning journalists who oppose his rule, is the last person who can preach morality to us,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
Despite such firm criticism, Turkey has maintained commercial ties with Israel throughout its nearly three-month assault on Gaza in a “genocidal” campaign that has killed more than 21,000 people, wounded 55,000 others and displaced almost the entire 2.3 million population.
The Israeli bombings began on October 7 when the Palestinian armed group Hamas launched an attack on southern Israel, killing more than 1,100 people and taking about 240 captives.