NATO ally Erdogan blames US for Palestinian deaths in Gaza and denounces ‘vampire’ Netanyahu

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an important NATO ally, blamed the United States for a “genocide” in Gaza while labeling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a bloodthirsty “vampire.”

Erdogan made the comments in a speech to Turkey’s parliament, speaking after a recent Israeli airstrike led to dozens of civilian deaths in Rafah. Though several other NATO members have been critical of Israel during its war in Gaza, the Turkish president has perhaps topped them all, going so far as to show support for Hamas. His Wednesday remarks denouncing Israel and Netanyahu are his strongest yet, comparing the prime minister with a supernatural monster.

“The world is watching the barbarism of a sick man, a maniac, a psychopath, and a blood-feeding vampire called Netanyahu,” Erdogan said.

“Israel is not just a threat to Gaza but to all of humanity,” Erdogan said. “No state is safe as long as Israel does not follow international law and does not feel bound by international law.”

After denouncing Netanyahu, he then cast blame for the “genocide” on the U.S., one of his closest allies.

“Oh, the American state, this blood is on your hands also,” Erdogan said. “You are responsible for this genocide at least as much as Israel. Oh, the heads of state and government of Europe, you are also a party to Israel’s genocide, this barbarism, this vampirelike act of Israel, because you remained silent.”

The remarks are sure to strain already frosty relations between the U.S. and Turkey, whose public differences have reached new heights amid the war in Gaza.

Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., is openly backed by Turkey. In March, Erdogan reaffirmed his support for the group while denouncing Israel as “Nazis.”

“No one can make us qualify Hamas as a terrorist organization. Turkey is a country that speaks openly with Hamas leaders and firmly backs them,” he said.

“Netanyahu and his administration, with their crimes against humanity in Gaza, are writing their names next to Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin, like today’s Nazis,” he added.

Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have persisted for years under Erdogan’s government, which has seen the country tilt in an increasingly authoritarian and Islamist direction. The U.S. has found it difficult to distance itself from Turkey, however, as it occupies one of the most strategically vital positions on the globe, owning the Dardanelles Strait, and possessing the second-largest standing military in NATO, second only to the U.S.

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Palestinian authorities claim that the deadly fire that killed around 45 civilians and injured hundreds more earlier this week was started by an Israeli airstrike. Israeli authorities dispute this, claiming the fire was started by secondary explosions, possibly from Hamas weapons caches. Netanyahu issued a rare apology over the strike, calling it a “tragic mistake.”

The strike has led to condemnations around the globe. It came just days after the International Court of Justice issued an arrest warrant for Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over alleged war crimes committed during the war.

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