Israeli PM ‘will be tried as war criminal’, says Erdogan

Published December 5, 2023
A Palestinian child carrying a baby stands at a place bombed by Israel in Rafah, 
in the southern Gaza Strip.—Reuters
A Palestinian child carrying a baby stands at a place bombed by Israel in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.—Reuters

ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would eventually be tried as a war criminal over Israel’s ongoing offensive in the Gaza Strip, while slamming Western countries supporting Israel.

Turkiye, which supports a two-state solution to the decades-old issue, has sharply criticised Israel over its campaign in Gaza.

In a speech to an Organi­sation of Islamic Coopera­tion (OIC) committee meeting in Istanbul, Erdogan said the Western nations supporting Israel were giving it “unconditional support to kill babies” and were complicit in its crimes.

“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.

“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”.

Erdogan said a so-called contact 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 stopped, but added more must be done.

“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.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2023

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