Erdogan Labels Israel a 'Terrorist State,' Calls for War Crimes Trial

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Erdogan Labels Israel a 'Terrorist State,' Calls for War Crimes Trial

Erdogan Labels Israel a 'Terrorist State,' Calls for War Crimes Trial

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intensified his condemnation of Israel, branding it a "terrorist state" and accusing it of conducting the "most treacherous attacks in human history" against the Gaza Strip. Erdogan, addressing members of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party), called for Israeli leaders to be tried for war crimes at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Erdogan reiterated Turkey's position that Hamas is not a "terrorist organization" but a political party, emphasizing that it won the last Palestinian legislative elections in 2006. He accused Israel of genocide and demanded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disclose whether the country possesses nuclear weapons.

The Turkish president also vowed to designate Israeli settlers in occupied Palestinian territories as "terrorists." Netanyahu, in response, dismissed Erdogan's criticisms, stating that he would not be "morally lectured" by someone who supports "the terrorist state Hamas."

Erdogan's rhetoric has escalated in the aftermath of Hamas launching attacks on southern Israel on October 7. The death toll, according to Israeli officials, reached approximately 1,200, mostly civilians, with around 240 people taken hostage. Health officials in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, reported over 11,300 casualties, including more than 4,000 children.

In response to the rising tensions, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel, severed official contacts with Netanyahu, and suspended recent efforts to repair relations. Israel, in turn, announced a re-evaluation of its ties with Ankara, recalling diplomatic staff from Turkey and other regional countries for security reasons.

Erdogan's comments come just days before his planned meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has faced criticism for hosting the Turkish leader. Germany has supported Israel, and Scholz rejected calls for an "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza, aligning with the U.S. government's position and advocating for "humanitarian pauses" instead.

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