Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to have completely abandoned the restrained position on the war between Israel and Hamas he had adopted when the conflict first erupted.
On Wednesday, Turkey’s leader lashed out at Tel Aviv and the Israeli army as he addressed his parliament.
He said: “Right now I am openly saying with a clear conscience that Israel is a terrorist state.”
Addressing the US and Israel, he continued, amid a round of applause: “You describe Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Hamas is a political party that entered elections in Palestine and won the election. And after it won the election, you took away its rights.”
Hamas, which has both an armed and political wing, won the 2006 Palestinian elections but rejected the conditions issued by the US, UN, Russia and the EU – which included recognising Israel and stopping supporting terrorism.
The following year, Hamas entered a conflict with the previously ruling Fatah party and later effectively took over power in the Gaza Strip, which led to the de facto division between this territory from the West Bank.
Mr Erdogan, who had initially presented himself as a possible mediator between Hamas and Israel, also said Ankara was gathering evidence on possible “humanitarian crimes” being carried out in Gaza by the Israeli military, with the aim of pressing charges at the International Criminal Court.
In his blistering speech, which took place as IDF soldiers were entering the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City after claiming one of Hamas’ command centres was located underneath the building, the Turkish leader failed to address Hamas as a terror group.
This isn’t the first attack Mr Erdogan has launched at Israel since the beginning of the new war in the Middle East.
In late October, the Turkish politician claimed to a crowd of several hundred thousand Palestinian supporters that Israel had been “openly committing war crimes” since the war began.
This allegation prompted Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to recall his diplomats from Turkey. And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later said: “Don’t accuse us of war crimes. If you think that you can accuse our soldiers of war crimes that is hypocrisy. We are the most moral army in the world.”
A few days later, Mr Erdogan hit out once again at Israel, saying Turkey had “crossed out” Mr Netanyahu and claimed the Israeli government has been “systematically usurping Palestinians’ homes, streets, workplaces and living spaces”.
Ankara, he added, “is ready to act as a guarantor country for Gaza”.
Israel started launching retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza in the wake of the harrowing October 7 terror attack launched by Hamas, which killed more than 1,400 people.
On the evening of October 27, the Israeli military launched a ground operation inside the Strip, which is focusing on the northern part of the territory.
The Hamas-led health ministry in Gaza has claimed more than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began.