JERUSALEM, Israel – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is at loggerheads with the State of Israel, or more specifically the government of Israel.
Erdogan, along with heads of state and senior officials from Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Iran, among others, including leaders of the Palestinian Authority – decried the recently passed nation-state bill as evidence that Israel is a fascist and racist society.
The newest Basic Law (these laws serve as a quasi-constitution), simply says that Israel has an intrinsic right, based on its history, to define its own national identity, which includes the following:
- Jerusalem as the capital
- Hebrew as the official language
- Hebrew calendar as the state's calendar
- Menorah as the official emblem
- National holidays
It also defines Jewish settlement of the land as a "national interest."
The passage of the law, Erdogan said, left no room for doubt that Israel is "the most Zionist, fascist and racist state" in the world. At least he got the Zionist part right.
But Erdogan took it a step further when he compared what he called the Israeli mentality with Adolph Hitler's Aryan race ideology – a strange analogy since Jews were the victims of the Nazi reign.
"Hitler's spirit has reemerged among administrators in Israel," Erdogan said.
He also accused Israel of aggression against "Palestinians" in the Gaza Strip for responding to terror attacks with artillery fire. According to Erdogan, Israel is the "terror state," that despite his staunch support of Islamic terror groups like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood.
"Advancing with tanks, artillery, jets and rockets upon civilian Palestinians who solely seek to defend their own lands, Israel has once again shown that it is a terror state," he reasoned. "I call on the Muslim world, the Christian community, all countries, organizations, NGOs, democratic journalists and freedom advocates around the world to take action against Israel."
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Whoever imprisons tens of thousands of his citizens, fires hundreds of thousands, massacres Kurds and occupies both northern Cyprus and northern Syria should not preach to us about democracy and human rights."
Netanyahu said Turkey is becoming "a dark dictatorship" under Erdogan's rule.
Like Netanyahu, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said he wouldn't accept standards of morality from "a dictator who hunts down and murders members of the Kurdish minority in his country or elsewhere."
And Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said, "a dictator who compares Jews to Hitler is dangerous to all humanity."
Erdogan won reelection in June and his AKP party garnered a majority in parliament. While claiming to be a bastion of democracy, Erdogan has effectively embedded and empowered himself in every sector of Turkish life.
It is no secret that he perceives himself as the leader of a burgeoning Islamic caliphate.
Since his successful defeat of an attempted coup in 2016, Erdogan has imprisoned thousands of government employees, judges, educators, and media personnel – anyone he perceives as an enemy to his dictatorship. American Pastor Andrew Brunson, falsely accused of conspiring against the government, has been imprisoned for nearly two years under threats of a life sentence. Wednesday afternoon, a Turkish court released him to house arrest.
Israel Hayom and AP contributed to this report.