Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blasted the Israeli government on Friday, saying that he knew well how Israel is “an enemy of Islam”, over the country’s most recent air strike on targets in Gaza.
Early on Friday, Israeli aircraft hit three facilities operated by Hamas, the militant group ruling Gaza, including weapons manufacturing and smuggling sites, in response to a previous rocket attack, according to an Associated Press report.
The Israeli military said Palestinian militants fired two rockets from Gaza into the country’s south on Friday, within 24 hours.
Erdoğan, speaking to reporters following Friday prayers, said the Israeli operation was “a very clear indication about Israel’s attitude towards Muslims.”
“We know Israel is an enemy of Islam. Unfortunately, Israel does not change these habits,” Erdoğan said. “We want all of humanity to follow closely Israel’s hostility against Islam evaluate (the situation). Surely, as long as Israel maintains this attitude, it is impossible for bilateral relations to reach a level we would like.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also issued a statement on “Israel’s attacks on Gaza” and said, “Last night's air strikes conducted on Gaza by Israeli combat aircraft constitute the latest example of the policies of aggression of the Israeli government.”
The ministry expressed concern about “Israel's policies of oppression and violence against the Palestinian people” increasingly continuing during Ramadan.
Turkey and Israel were good allies for decades until the two countries had a bitter falling out after Israel’s Mavi Marmara flotilla raid in 2010, when 10 pro-Palestinian activists, most of them Turkish citizens, were killed on the Turkish-registered vessel headed to Gaza.
In recent months, the possibility of the two countries mending ties has become a talking point again. So far, there has been a lot of talk but not a lot of tangible positive steps taken, besides hopeful remarks, which have mostly come from Ankara.
Last August saw Erdoğan host the political chief of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, in Turkey, prompting condemnations from Israel, as well as global powers including the United States. Washington strongly objects to the Turkish President hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul on August 22, the U.S. State Department said with a press release.
“Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU and both officials hosted by President Erdogan are Specially Designated Global Terrorists,” said the press release by the Department's spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.