Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday the cancellation of all his plans to visit Israel due to its inhuman war on Hamas in Gaza, denouncing the West’s inability to stop the ongoing fighting.
Speaking before Parliament, Erdogan said, “We had a plan to visit Israel, but it was cancelled… We won’t go”.
Erdogan recently resumed his relations with Israeli leaders and met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time in September in New York, after more than a decade of tense relations between the two countries.
The Turkish President said in a sharp speech, “I shook hands with this man… We had good intentions, but he took advantage of them,” while deputies chanted, “Down with Israel” and “God is Great”.
He continued, “Relationships could have been different, but this won’t happen anymore, unfortunately”.
The Turkish President said, “You won’t find any other country whose army behaves with such inhumanity,” commenting on the Israeli bombing focused on the Gaza Strip in response to the unprecedented attack launched by hundreds of Hamas fighters on the territory of the Hebrew state on October 7.
The Israeli air and artillery bombardment resulted in the death of 6,546 Palestinians, many of them children, according to the latest toll issued by the Ministry of Health in Gaza, on Wednesday.
On the Israeli side, more than 1,400 people were killed, most of them civilians, on the first day of the Hamas attack, in addition to Hamas holding more than 200 hostages, according to the Israeli authorities.
Erdogan said, “Hamas isn’t a terrorist group, it’s a liberation group that protects its land”.
He also criticized “the Western powers that shed tears over Israel and do nothing else,” denouncing their “inability to stop Israel”.
He stressed that “the fact that those who mobilized the world for Ukraine did not take a position on the massacres in Gaza is a clear indication of their hypocrisy,” adding, “As long as innocents continue to fall in Gaza, no ship or plane sent to the region will be able to bring peace there”.
He called for the establishment of an independent Palestine and the holding of a conference that brings together Israel and the Palestinians, offering that his country would be a guarantor of any agreement reached in the future.
After Erdogan called for restraint in the days following the Hamas attack on Israel and the start of the Israeli response in the Gaza Strip, he changed his tone and denounced genocide after the raid on a hospital in Gaza last week, immediately attributing the raid to the Israeli army.
“Sides outside the region must stop adding fuel to the fire,” he said in Parliament.
He added, “A ceasefire must be declared immediately, and direct or indirect negotiations must begin to release the hostages”.
For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Wednesday that any ground operation in Gaza will turn this brutality into a massacre in every sense of the word.
This came in a joint press conference with the Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani in the capital, Doha.
Fidan stated, “Targeting our Palestinian brothers without discrimination between children, the sick, and the elderly, even in schools, hospitals, and mosques, is a crime against humanity”.
He added, “The more death and destruction in Gaza increases, the more reactions to this will increase in the region, and the consequences cannot be predicted”.
He added, “Everyone with a conscience must stop this brutality being committed before the eyes of the whole world”.
Fidan explained that Türkiye doesn’t reject the attacks targeting innocent civilians in Gaza, which have turned into collective punishment, and doesn’t accept the displacement of Palestinians from their homes.
He stated that what is happening in Gaza isn’t only persecution of the Palestinians, but will also be a development that would destabilize Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, calling on Israel to stop its operations immediately.
The Turkish Foreign Minister stressed the need to declare an immediate ceasefire and establish a humanitarian aid corridor.
He pointed out that cutting off electricity and water and preventing basic humanitarian aid leads to a major humanitarian disaster.
Fidan stressed that Türkiye is striving with all its might to end the tragedy, and that President Erdogan continues his intensive diplomatic contacts to stop the war.
He denounced the positions of some countries towards the war in Gaza, saying, “Those who encourage Israel’s crimes under the guise of solidarity with it are also partners in this crime”.
He stated that the only way to find a solution is to achieve an independent, sovereign Palestinian state, on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Fidan praised the importance of the major role played by Qatar towards the Palestinian issue, the latest of which is Qatari efforts to release the hostages.
He pointed out that Türkiye provides full support to Qatar regarding the prisoner exchange, and that they are trying to do everything they can in this regard.
He pointed out that there are Turkish humanitarian aid activities being implemented with Egypt and other countries.
On Saturday, he is scheduled to join a rally organized by the Presidential Justice and Development Party in support of Palestine in Istanbul.
Türkiye is a Muslim-majority country and supports the Palestinian cause, which Erdogan has always presented himself as a defender of.
On different context, the Turkish government announced that its suspending plans for cooperation with Israel in the field of energy, and the Turkish Energy Minister cancels a visit to Tel Aviv.