Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan condemned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, December 4, asserting that he would eventually face trial as a war criminal for Israel’s ongoing offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Turkey, which supports a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict, has sharply criticized Israel over its war in Gaza.
Israel declared war on the militant militant group Hamas which controls the Palestinian territory following the October 7 incursion that killed 1400 people .
More than 15,500 people have been killed in the Israeli air and ground attacks, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
In a speech to an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) committee meeting in Istanbul on Monday, December 4, Erdogan said the Western nations supporting Israel were giving it “unconditional support to kill babies” and were complicit in its crimes.
Unlike most of its Western allies and some Gulf states, NATO member Turkey does not view Hamas as a terrorist group and hosts some of its members.
Erdogan, whose ruling party has extremist roots, said a group of Muslim countries, which was formed by the OIC and Arab League last month to hold talks on Gaza with Western countries and others, would continue discussions until the fighting in Gaza stops.
“Beyond being a war criminal, Netanyahu, who is the butcher of Gaza right now, will be tried as the butcher of Gaza, just as Milosevic was tried,” Erdogan said, in reference to Yugoslav ex-President Slobodan Milosevic who was tried for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes at a tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
“Those who try to skip over the deaths of all those innocent people by using the excuse of Hamas have nothing left to say to humanity,” he added, referring to Western powers, which he said were “blind and deaf”.
“We must absolutely evaluate the United Nations Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court (ICC) within this framework,” he said, adding Israel’s nuclear arsenal must not be forgotten.
Erdogan, who has long called for the United Nations Security Council to be reformed to be more inclusive, also said that the UN had failed the test in Gaza and called for an urgent reform, repeating that the Security Council’s five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France did not represent the world.
“The sincere efforts of Secretary General (Antonio) Guterres were sabotaged by the Security Council members,” he said.
“None of us have to accept this system,” he added.
“It is not possible for such a structure to bring peace or hope to humanity.”