On Wednesday, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan drew parallels between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Adolf Hitler.
Erdogan slammed Netanyahu’s actions, implying that there is little difference between him and the infamous Nazi leader. He also compared Israel’s military actions in Gaza to the Nazis’ brutal treatment of Jews during World War II, implying that the tactics and severity are reminiscent of Hitler and his regime’s historical atrocities.
NATO member Turkey, which supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has criticized Israel’s air and ground assault on Gaza, calling it a “terror state,” and said its leaders must be tried in international courts.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pumped up the ferocity of his language in his critical stance of Netanyahu. He stated that Turkey is willing to provide refuge to academics and scientists who are being persecuted because of their views on the Gaza conflict. Erdogan heightened his condemnation by accusing Western nations that support Israel of being indirectly involved in what he considers war crimes.
This audacious statement reflects Erdogan’s firm stance on the issue, emphasizing his commitment to providing a safe haven for those imprisoned for their beliefs and his strong disapproval of Western countries’ support for Israel, which he associates with the commission of war crimes.
“They used to speak ill of Hitler,” Erdogan said. “What difference do you have from Hitler? They are going to make us miss Hitler. Is what this Netanyahu is doing any less than what Hitler did? It is not.”
“He is richer than Hitler, [and] he gets the support from the West. All sorts of support comes from the United States. And what did they do with all this support? They killed more than 20,000 Gazans,” he later continued.
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded by saying that the Turkish President should not be lecturing Israel on genocidal attempts. Netanyahu referred to the genocidal Turkish behaviors towards the Kurds as the disqualifying factor for Erdogan’s criticism.
“Erdogan, who commits genocide against the Kurds, who holds a world record for imprisoning journalists who oppose his rule,” Netanyahu said in a statement, “is the last person who can preach morality to us.”
Despite its criticism of Israel, Turkey has maintained commercial ties, prompting opposition parties and Iran to condemn the country’s government. Ankara claims that trade with Israel has plummeted since October 7th, when the Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out a deadly cross-border rampage that killed 1,200 people, thereby prompting Israel to declare war on Hamas.
Turkey’s stance on Hamas is noteworthy. Unlike its NATO allies and other Arab and Orient nations, Turkey does not view Hamas as a terrorist organization.
Since the clash of the two sovereign leaders, other officials have also voiced themselves. Former Israeli President Isaac Herzog attacked Erdogan’s statements as deeply offensive while vindicating the war.
“There is no struggle more just than the war against the terrorist organization Hamas, which brutally and barbarically murdered Jews, as well as Muslims, and those of other faiths and nationalities,” Herzog said.
On the other hand, in a recent statement, Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish government’s communications director, attacked Netanyahu for his comments.
The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is the last person to talk about anything related to genocide. He has mastered skills to sell the world, his war crimes against civilians as self-defense. Even though the world fails to stop him, the history will judge him as the war criminal…
— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) December 27, 2023
The Gaza Strip’s Hamas-run health ministry claims that over twenty thousand people have been killed since October 7th. This is an unconfirmed figure that does not distinguish between civilians and fighters. Israel claims to have killed eight thousand Hamas operatives within the coastal enclave and that is working to avoid civilian casualties while fighting an enemy that has embedded its military infrastructure in homes, hospitals, schools, and mosques.
Who Are the Kurds?
One of the main minorities of modern Turkey and an ancient peoples of the Middle East are the Kurds. They are an indigenous group of a region covering the Mesopotamian plains to southeastern Turkey as well as parts of Armenia, Syria, and Iraq.
Alongside the Armenian and Pontic Genocides, the Kurdish minority also suffered greatly in the 1920s. As the Ottoman Empire disintegrated, the Kurds began separatist movements similar to the Greeks and Armenians. However, they were unsuccessful in their efforts, and any resistance was annihilated.
One of the darkest moments in Kurdish history is the Dersim massacre and rebellion, during which over thirteen thousand Kurds were killed and twelve thousand were exiled by the new Republic of Turkey.
The hostility of the two groups was aroused yet again in 1977 with the Republic of Turkey engaging in an armed conflict involving both civilian and militant Kurdish groups. The conflict is ongoing, recently surpassing the forty-five year mark and is primarily between the united Kurdish guerilla forces, known as the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), and the Turkish military.