Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has compared Israel’s policies against the Palestinians to the “racism” of the early days of the United States and the apartheid-era in South Africa.
“What’s the difference between the present acts of the Israeli administration and the racist and discriminatory politics that were practised against black people in the past in America – and up until a short time ago in South Africa,” Erdogan said on Monday.
Erdogan – speaking at an event in Istanbul that focused on the Middle East conflict – also cautioned the US not to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Such a move is “extremely wrong” and such talk should be abandoned, he said.
The Turkish leader criticised Israel over legislation working its way through the Knesset that would place restrictions on the Islamic call to prayer. One such bill would ban calls to worship via loudspeakers between 11pm and 7am.
Israel fired back later on Monday calling Erdogan a “serial human rights violator”.
“Whoever systematically violates human rights in their own country should not preach morality to the only true democracy in the region,” said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.
“Israel consistently protects total freedom of worship for Jews, Muslims and Christians – and will continue to do so despite the baseless smears launched against it,” he said in a statement.
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