Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the US for sending a group of warships to the eastern Mediterranean in a show of solidarity with Israel.
(Bloomberg) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the US for sending a group of warships to the eastern Mediterranean in a show of solidarity with Israel.
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“What is the US aircraft carrier doing in Israel?” Erdogan said in a joint press conference with visiting Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Ankara, Turkey’s capital.
The Turkish leader said the US warships will cause “massacres” in Gaza and accused the US of aiding “terrorist” groups in the region, citing American presence in Syria.
Turkey has launched air raids against US-backed Kurdish militants in Syria, holding them responsible for the Oct. 1 suicide bombing in Ankara. The US responded by shooting down a Turkish drone.
Erdogan’s rebuke of American policies toward Israel and Palestinians follows Saturday’s surprise attack by Hamas militants on the Jewish state. US and Turkey are both members of the NATO military alliance.
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Turkey sees establishment of an independent Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem as a necessity for a lasting peace in the Middle East, Erdogan said. He’s been holding phone calls with regional leaders to rein in tensions, last speaking to Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Tuesday evening.
Erdogan and Putin discussed “measures to prevent the tension from spreading,” said a readout from the Turkish Presidency.
(Updates with Erdogan-Putin phone call starting in sixth paragraph.)
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