Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has declared that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face trial as a war criminal for Israel’s ongoing offensive in the Gaza Strip. Erdogan referred to Netanyahu as the “butcher of Gaza.” Speaking at a meeting of an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) committee in Istanbul, Erdogan emphasized that Gaza is Palestinian land and will always belong to the Palestinians. He accused Israel of being not only a murderer but also a thief, stating that Israel cannot be allowed to occupy Gaza once again.
Erdogan’s extreme rhetoric against Israel has intensified since the war in Gaza began. He has repeatedly used anti-Israel rhetoric, including calling Hamas “freedom fighters” and labeling Israel as a “terror state.” Erdogan’s comments have drawn strong reactions from other politicians as well. A member of Turkey’s ruling AKP party made antisemitic remarks, invoking the name of Hitler and expressing a desire for the world to be “cleansed of Jews.” As a response, Israel recalled its diplomats from Turkey, and antisemitism has surged in the country since the conflict began on October 7.