Erdogan: Israel portrays ‘Hitler-like fascism’

Erdogan said he was happy to return an award previously bestowed upon him by an American Jewish group

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Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused on Thursday Israel of displaying“Hitler-like fascism,” in renewed fiery criticism against the state over its offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Agence France-Presse reported.

Erdogan extended his attack, saying that he was willing to return an award that was bestowed upon him by an American Jewish group in 2004. He made the comments while speaking at a mass rally to promote his presidential candidacy in eastern Turkey.

“If you support this cruelty, this genocide, this Hitler-like fascism and child murdering regime, take your award back,” Erdogan said at an election rally for his presidential campaign in the eastern province of Van.

The American Jewish Congress said it wanted the decoration to be returned by the Turkish premier, after protesting his bitter attacks.

Erdogan had compared Israel to the Nazi dictator’s Third Reich which had slaughtered Jews in the Holocaust.

“What is the difference between Israeli actions and those of the Nazis and Hitler?” he asked.

“How can you explain what the Israeli state has been doing in Gaza, Palestine, if not genocide?

“This is racism. This is fascism. This is keeping Hitler’s spirit alive,” he added.

Erdogan has showed no sign of reining in his rhetoric, which angered Israel and the United States.

Presenting himself as the hero of Palestinian rights, Erdogan’s criticism of Israel’s military campaign has heightened, with almost daily tirades fired at election rallies in a run up to the August 10 presidential vote.

The premier faced anti-Semitism accusations from Israel and American-Jewish groups, but he said his and Turkey’s record of protecting Jews was faultless.

“Who stood up for Jews at a time when they were expelled from their home countries? It was our ancestors, it was the Ottomans,” he said, referring to the sanctuary offered to Jews expelled from Spain in the 15th century.

“Aren’t you embarrassed? How immoral you are.... It is us who protects the Jews on our soil and lets them live safely,” he added.

His rhetoric has put an end to Turkey and Israel’s chances of normalizing their relations, after Israel stormed a Turkish ship carrying aid to Gaza in 2010.

(With AFP)

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