Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan engaged in another war of words this weekend. It isn’t the first and probably won’t be the last, at least not as long as Erdogan remains in a leadership role.
The spat as usual was started by Erdogan, who this time told young Turks during a televised speech in Istanbul to the Turkey Youth Foundation on Saturday, “The Jews in Israel kick people lying on the ground. In fact, Jews don’t kick men but also women and children when they fall to the ground. . .
“As Muslims, we deal with people directly, and if there are people who are brave enough to provoke us, we will teach them a lesson.”
Erdogan also told those in the audience: “Don’t be like the Jews.”
A number of Turkish journalists later wrote on the Twitter social networking site that some in the crowd urged Erdogan to bring about the Muslim reconquest of Jerusalem. Erdogan’s response: “Soon, God willing.”
Netanyahu replied on Twitter later the same day: “Erdogan – the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey – should not preach to Israel.”
Next was a comment by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, calling Netanyahu a “cold-blooded killer of modern times, responsible for massacres of thousands of innocent Palestinians, bombing children on beaches. . . Turkey will never stop exposing the truth.”
On Sunday morning, Erdogan tweeted another tweak at Israel’s prime minister: “You are an oppressor, cruel and the leader of a terrorist state.”
Netanyahu’s response came in remarks on Sunday at an event with Christian IDF soldiers: “We are proud of you; the entire nation is proud of you. You belong to the most moral army on earth. Not everyone shares this view. I was just exposed to the daily trolling of the anti-Semitic dictator Erdogan.
“He is obsessed with Israel. He knows what a moral army is and he knows what a genuine democracy is, as opposed to an army that massacres women and children in Kurdish villages and a state which, to my regret, is becoming more dictatorial day by day.
“But there has been an improvement. Erdogan used to attack me every two hours and now it is every six hours.”
Despite all the verbal sparring, Israel’s national airline still purchases the water served with its pre-packaged meals for passengers from Turkey, and numerous textiles, clothing items, housewares and appliances are still sold in the Israeli marketplace.