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. He added the embargo on Gaza by Israel "has no place in humanity".
Istanbul, Turkey - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Muslim leaders to unite and confront Israel, days after scores of Palestinians were killed by Israeli snipers as they marked 70 years of Israeli occupation. Speaking at an extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Friday, Erdogan said Israel should be held accountable over the killings which drew widespread international condemnation and triggered a wave of protests from Asia, through the Middle East, to North Africa. "To take action for Palestinians massacred by Israeli bandits is to show the whole world that humanity is not dead," Erdogan told the group of Muslim leaders gathered in Turkey's largest city, Istanbul. The Turkish president described Israel's killing of Palestinians as "thuggery, atrocity and state terror," and said the US' recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would inevitably haunt it. On Monday, just as the US went ahead with the controversial relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem, 62 Palestinians, including five children, were killed and more than 2,700 wounded as the Israeli army fired live ammunition and tear gas at protesters who had assembled hundreds of metres from a 1949 armistice line between Gaza and Israel.
Israel's defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, ruled out participation in any commission of inquiry, telling Army Radio on Sunday that the Israeli military "did what had to be done." He added, "I think that all of our troops deserve a medal." President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey described the harsh Israeli response as "an inhumane attack." After Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel wrote on Twitter that "the most moral army in the world will not be preached to on morality by someone who for years has indiscriminately bombed a civilian population," apparently referring to Ankara's battle against the Kurds, Mr. Erdogan called the Israeli leader a "terrorist." Friday's protest was the start of a six-week campaign called the Great Return March.