Dec 26 2018
Tensions between Turkey and Israel ratcheted up on Sunday as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an "oppressor".
Netanyahu hit back in a speech later the same day, calling Erdogan an "anti-Semitic dictator" who is "obsessed with Israel".
Speaking to a group of youths, Erdogan said: "Do not kick the enemy you have brought down to the ground. You are not a Jew in Israel," in an apparent reference to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and siege of Gaza.
The comments did not go unnoticed in Israel, however, with Netanyahu later criticised Turkey over what he claims an occupation of northern Cyprus.
"Erdogan – the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey – should not preach to Israel," Netanyahu tweeted.
This was swiftly met by reply from Ibrahim Kalin, one of Erdogan's top aides.
"Bashing Erdogan or using Kurds as a political chip will not save [Netanyahu] from his domestic troubles," Kalin wrote.
The Israeli prime minister has recently seen his cabinet rocked by the departure of defence minister Avigdor Lieberman, with many analysts predicting Israel will soon be pushed towards elections as a result.
Netanyahu is also facing multiple allegations of corruption in several cases levelled against him.
Erdogan entered the fray again.
"You are an oppressor, cruel and at the head of state terror," Erdogan told the Israeli prime minister in a televised speech in Istanbul.
Erdogan lambasted Netanyahu for "occupying Palestine" and committing "sins, crimes against humanity, massacres".
On December 14, Erdogan said Palestinians were subjected to "pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during the Second World War," referring to the Holocaust.
The Turkish president has previously called Israel "the world's most fascist and racist state".
In May, Ankara ordered the Israeli ambassador out of Turkey in response to Israel's killing of Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip.
Turkey is the only country in the world which has been frankly supporting the Palestinian cause and recognise the Israel is an occupation state. Current Turkish leaders do not accept forgetting the Israeli crimes against thousands of the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine.
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