Erdogan and Netanyahu begin new war of words

Erdogan and Netanyahu begin new war of words
Turkish President Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu have traded insults again.
2 min read
23 December, 2018
Erdogan has blasted Israeli PM Netanyahu [Getty]
Turkey and Israel's leaders have embarked on a new war of words, with the two heads trading insults again on Sunday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as an "oppressor", following his claim that had massacred Kurds.

"You are an oppressor, cruel and at the head of state terror," Erdogan said of Netanyahu.

He also said Israel was "occupying Palestine" and had committed "sins, crimes against humanity, massacres".

Netanyahu hit back later on Sunday calling Erdogan an "anti-Semitic dictator" who is "obsessed with Israel".

Turkey and Israel have seen deteriorating relations in recent months, and follows a complete freezing of ties when Turkish activists were killed by Israeli soldiers on a flotilla travelling to Gaza in 2010.

Turkey has also been angered by a controversial law passed by the Israeli parliament in July which defined the country as the nation state of the Jewish people.

"Do not kick the enemy you have brought down to the ground. You are not a Jew in Israel," Erdogan told a group of young Turks.

Netanyahu told Erdogan in a tweet late on Saturday that he "should not preach to Israel" as "the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey".

Erdogan's chief adviser Ibrahim Kalin also hit out at Netanyahu, tweeting that the Israeli prime minister had been using Erdogan "bashing... as a political chip" in a bid to save himself "from his domestic troubles".

Erdogan also said earlier this month that Palestinians were subjected to "pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during the Second World War", referring to the Holocaust.

Ankara ordered the Israeli ambassador to leave Turkey in May over the killing of protesters along the border with the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan has modelled himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause, and described Israel as "the world's most fascist and racist state".

Despite the rhetoric, the two countries share strong economic ties and robust trade links.