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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Israel must face international court – Erdogan

The military’s attacks in Gaza are “unlawful,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Israel to be brought to an international court over its actions in Gaza amid the continued escalation between West Jerusalem and Hamas. The Israeli military continues to violate international law in full view of the international community, he told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a phone call on Tuesday.

The two officials spoke ahead of the UN Security Council meeting on Gaza scheduled for Wednesday. The conversation was focused on solutions to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave and ways to achieve “lasting peace” in the region, the Turkish president’s office said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).

Read more: Turkey’s Erdogan urges Israel to stop ‘madness’, end Gaza strikes

Erdogan also maintained that Israel “continues to blatantly trample on the international law, the law of war and the humanitarian law,” the statement said, adding that the Turkish leader demanded West Jerusalem “be held to account before the international law for the crimes committed.”

Israel has been waging a military campaign against Hamas in Gaza since October 7, when the militants launched a surprise attack on Israeli territory, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking more than 200 hostage. West Jerusalem’s response involved heavy bombardments of the enclave followed by a ground operation. These actions have already led to over 16,000 Palestinian deaths, including thousands of women and children, according to local officials.

On Tuesday, Erdogan expressed his condolences to Guterres over the deaths of more than 100 UN personnel killed in the Palestinian enclave amid the continued conflict.

Read more: Turkey’s Erdogan to host Putin, hopes for Black Sea grain deal extension

A ‘humanitarian pause’ was arranged last week following growing international pressure on Israel. The truce also involved prisoner exchanges. Hamas has since released 39 Israeli hostages, as well as two dozen more captives under a separate arrangement. Israel has released 117 imprisoned Palestinians.

Erdogan has harshly criticized Israel’s conduct in Gaza from the very onset of the escalation, labeling it a “terror state” and accusing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of committing war crimes against Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has responded by accusing the Turkish president of supporting “the terrorist state of Hamas.”

Earlier in November, the Turkish leader said Ankara would ask the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to investigate whether the Jewish state has a nuclear arsenal. “Israel’s nuclear weapons must be inspected beyond any doubt before it is too late,” he said at the time, reminding everyone that West Jerusalem is not a party to the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.