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Turkey PM Erdogan lashes out at Israel during election rally

Turkey PM Erdogan lashes out at Israel during election rally
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel on Sunday of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers and warned it would ‘drown in the blood it sheds’, pulling foreign policy to centre stage as a presidential race enters its final week.

Addressing hundreds of thousands of supporters at his biggest rally so far ahead of the Aug. 10 election, Erdogan again likened Israel’s actions to those of Hitler, comments that have already led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accuse him of anti-Semitism and drawn rebuke from Washington.

‘Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target,’ Erdogan told the sea of cheering supporters at an Istanbul arena.

‘They kill women so that they will not give birth to Palestinians; they kill babies so that they won’t grow up; they kill men so they can’t defend their country ... They will drown in the blood they shed,’ he said.

Erdogan’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from a Jewish leader in the United States, who called the Turkish prime minister ‘the Joseph Goebbels of our time,’ referring to Hitler’s chief propagandist.

‘The time has come for world leaders to say that he has now crossed a line, and has crossed a line into the area of anti-Semitism and the world won’t tolerate it,’ Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told Reuters.

Pro-Palestinian sentiment runs high in mostly Sunni Muslim Turkey, and protesters have repeatedly taken to the streets in recent weeks to demonstrate against Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Over 50 million Turks are expected to vote next Sunday, electing their president directly for the first time. Two polls last month put Erdogan on 55-56 percent, a 20-point lead over the main opposition candidate, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Ihsanoglu, a diplomat and academic who was at the helm of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation for nine years, has accused Erdogan of populism with his anti-Israeli rhetoric.
Agencies

Agencies

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