Israel warns Turkey it will 'respond' to criticism

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel will “respond” if Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to criticize Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip.

Israel warns Turkey it will 'respond' to criticism

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has warned Turkey that it will “respond” if Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to criticize Israel after the Turkish presidential elections, which commences on Sunday.

Lieberman reportedly made the comments to US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday during a meeting in which he thanked the US for preventing the UN from adopting a resolution against Israel over its atrocities against Palestinian civilians in its month-long military siege on the Gaza Strip, which has claimed nearly 2,000 lives.

“Until now we have shown restraint at his (Erdogan's) rants,” Lieberman said, according to the Jerusalem Post, adding that Israel hoped Erdogan’s condemnationms would end after the election. “If that does not happen, Israel will respond,” he said, without elaborating further.

Erdogan fiercely criticized Israel's offensive in Gaza, comparing it to atrocities carried out by Adolf Hitler during World War Two when he recently said: "Israelis curse and swear about Hitler day and night for the Holocaust, but now the terrorist state of Israel has surpassed Hitler with its atrocities in Gaza."

Erdogan specifically condemned Ayelet Shaked, a far-right Jewish Home party representative in the Israeli Knesset (parliament), after she called for the massacre of Palestinian civilians, comparing her comments to the mentality of the Nazi Germany leader Adolf Hitler.

However, Erdogan did make it cleat that “Turkey’s anger and disgust is against the oppressor Israel, not the Jewish people," warning his supporters against taking their anger out on the country's Jewish population.

"I don't approve of any (bad) attitude towards our Jewish citizens in Turkey, despite all this. Why? They are the citizens of this country," he said.


Erdogan's comments led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call him an anti-Semite, while the Jewish American Congress demanded that he return an award that was given to him in 2004 after accusing him of using "dangerous rhetoric" and "inciting violence against the Jewish people," all the while describing him as the "most virulent anti-Israeli leader."

Erdogan responded that he would be glad to return the award, adding that he was a leader who has proclaimed to the world that anti-Semitism is a "crime against humanity" while stating that he had "developed a close relationship" with the 17.000-strong Jewish community in Turkey.

In a speech last week, Erdogan slammed accusations of him being an anti-Semite, saying "When Muslim children are being killed, the West deems it legal, but when we speak out against the terrorist state of Israel we are called anti-Semite. What kind of an injustice is that?"

Back in 2004, Jewish American Association president Jack Rosen had referred to Turkey as "a model of Muslim democracy – one that can have a profound impact helping to spread the concept that nations with a Muslim heritage can adopt modern political values."

The US also slammed Erdogan's comparison, saying that such comments “hurt Turkey’s standing in the world,” also describing the comments as“offensive and wrong.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli Foreign Ministry advised Israelis to "avoid non-essential visits" to Turkey after pro-Palestine protests broke out in front of the Israeli embassy and consulate in Ankara and Istanbul.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Ağustos 2014, 14:47