Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has branded Israel a “terror state” that is committing “genocide” in Gaza and claimed the country’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a ‘goner.’
In remarks on Wednesday to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary group meeting in Ankara, Erdogan also challenged Netanyahu to reveal whether Israel possesses nuclear weapons, before adding that such an arsenal won’t help the embattled prime minister anyway.
Erdogan launched several personal attacks at the Israeli leader, claiming that Netanyahu is bound to lose his post regardless of how the hostilities in Gaza play out.
“We see Netanyahu flanked by ministers during his news conferences. He thinks these ministers will save him. Netanyahu is a goner,” Erdogan said.
In his speech, Erdogan doubled down on his assessment of the conflict in Gaza as “genocide” by Israel. Those remaining silent on Israeli operations in the Palestinian enclave and allegations of crimes against humanity are as “complicit in those crimes as the perpetrators,” he stressed.
Türkiye will “work to bring this case to the International Court of Justice,” Erdogan said, reiterating Ankara’s threat to file a lawsuit with the body. While the country cannot do it directly, given that it never ratified the Rome Statute that established the court, government bodies and NGOs can “inform the prosecutor’s office” of alleged crimes and ask for an investigation, according to Turkish media reports.
“Do you have an atomic bomb or not? I challenge Netanyahu to declare it, but I don’t think he can. You can threaten people any way you can, but the end is near for Netanyahu,” Erdogan continued, apparently referring to explosive remarks by Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu, who had suggested nuking Gaza. The remarks were widely criticized both in Israel and overseas, with the minister eventually being suspended.
Israel has never publicly confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons, yet it’s widely believed to possess them since the late 1960s. According to independent estimates, it has around 90 warheads in its stock.