Turkish President Erdogan calls Israeli PM Netanyahu "a tyrant massacring Palestinian children," following Netanyahu's remarks that Israel was the nation-state of the Jewish people only.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "thief" and a "tyrant" in the latest spat between the two leaders.
The dispute comes after Erdogan's spokesman denounced Netanyahu as a racist for saying that Israel was the nation-state of the Jewish people only.
Speaking at an election campaign rally on Wednesday, Erdogan addressed Netanyahu as "the thief who heads Israel" in reference to corruption allegations against him.
Erdogan called the Israeli premier a "tyrant massacring Palestinian children" and also criticised Israel over its assault on the Al Aqsa Mosque complex, saying the Turkish nation will raise its voice for any attack against the mosque.
Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel is "a nation state, not of all its citizens but only of the Jewish people." Netanyahu also struck back calling Erdogan a dictator.
Erdogan said Turkey would maintain its struggle for occupied Jerusalem until the city is administrated in a way that is appropriate with its importance to the Islamic world.
He warned Israel that Turkey would call it to account for its attacks on the Al Aqsa Mosque complex in front of the international community.
Reactions to Netanyahu's remarks
Meanwhile, Turkish Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also lashed out on Wednesday at remarks by Israel's prime minister targeting the Turkish leader.
"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter in response to Netanyahu's previous remarks on Erdogan.
He was referring to a well-known quote from renowned scientist Albert Einstein, adding a video showing a spat between Erdogan and Israeli then-president Shimon Peres at a Davos Summit held in 2009.
Also on Wednesday, Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Netanyahu attacked Erdogan for "exposing the Israeli leader's racist remarks towards Arabs and Muslims."
After making racist remarks towards Arabs and Muslims, @netanyahu attacks President Erdoğan for exposing him. The apartheid state he leads occupies Palestinian lands, kills women & children & imprisons Palestinians in their own land. Lies and pressure will not hide your crimes.— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) March 12, 2019
"The apartheid state he leads occupies Palestinian lands, kills women, children, and imprisons Palestinians in their own land," Kalin said.
"Lies and pressure will not hide your crimes," he added.
"Netanyahu is uncomfortable with the fact that Erdogan is a democratic leader who is elected by the public and he speaks of protecting oppressed people of Palestine," said Omer Celik, the spokesman for the Justice and Development (AK) Party, at a news conference.
"I return the dictator statement to Mr Netanyahu, who is the most suitable politician in the world for this designation," Celik added.
Celik condemned Netanyahu's affirmation of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people as "one of the most racist statements in the human history."
.@netanyahu helplessly tries to distract attention to hide his legal troubles on charges of bribery&fraud.— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) March 13, 2019
Meanwhile, he fuels discrimination and hate against citizens of Israel, let alone Palestinians. Pathetic and shameful...
Tensions in occupied Jerusalem
Tensions have mounted in Jerusalem since February, when Israeli police briefly sealed the Al Aqsa compound's Al Rahma Gate, located adjacent to the eastern wall of the Old City, sparking Palestinian demonstrations.
In the weeks since, Israeli authorities have banned scores of Palestinians – including religious officials – from entering the compound, which for Muslims represents the world’s third holiest site.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognised by the international community.