Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that he had canceled a plan to visit Israel in light of the ongoing Gaza conflict.
At the Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, Erdoğan said that before Oct. 7, when the conflict erupted, he had planned to visit Israel but then canceled his plans.
Saying that Türkiye has no problem with the Israeli state, Erdoğan added, however, that Ankara would never approve of Tel Aviv committing atrocities.
The Jewish people know well that Türkiye is the only land that has been without antisemitism for centuries, he added, referring to its welcoming Jews driven out of other countries during both World War II and the Ottoman era.
Noting that almost half of those killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza are children, Erdoğan said this showed that “the aim is deliberate brutality to commit crimes against humanity.”
“…You cannot find another state or army [Israel] that continues this inhumane action with its tanks, cannons and weapons,” he said.
Western countries consider Hamas as a terrorist organization, he said, adding: “Hamas is not a terrorist organization, but a liberation group, a mujahideen group that struggles to protect its lands and citizens.”
The conflict in Gaza, which has been under Israeli bombardment since Oct. 7, began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers.
The Israeli military then launched a relentless air campaign against the Gaza Strip.
Nearly 7,200 people have been killed in the conflict, including at least 5,791 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis.
Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been running out of food, water, medicines and fuel, and recent aid convoys allowed into Gaza have carried only a fraction of what is needed.