Ankara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, just after his government and Israel formally reconciled after six years of strife, DPA reported.
“I do not agree with what Hitler did, and I also do not agree with what Israel did in Gaza,” Erdogan said in a rare interview with Israel television. “There is no place to make a comparison about which was more barbaric.”
The comment appeared to be a doubling down on remarks he made in 2014, during an Israeli military offensive in the isolated Palestinian coastal enclave, under a strict blockade.
He then accused Israel of genocide and said its actions were more barbaric than the Nazi regime.
This month, the two countries agreed to exchange ambassadors, for the first time since 2010. That year, an Israeli naval raid on an aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip left 10 Turkish citizens dead.
Erdogan remained angry about the army’s boarding of the aid ship, saying Israel’s insistence that its soldiers tried to prevent bloodshed when boarding the Mavi Marmara boat in international waters was “all lies.”
The interview is Erdogan’s first with an Israeli media outlet since the two nations mended ties over the summer.
Israel agreed to pay 20 million dollars in compensation, apologized over the incident, and allowed Turkey to bring in humanitarian aid to Gaza.
However, Ankara’s key demand that Israel lifts its blockade on Gaza was not met as part of the reconciliation deal. Erdogan said that his administration favors a two-state solution.
The Turkish president also said Hamas should have a seat at the table representing Palestinians, and violations against Masjid al-Aqsa should stop.
Asked whether Turkey would act as a mediator, Erdogan said: “If it is asked of us, why shouldn’t we? All we want is peace for that region.”