Official Turkish media reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sued a nationalist rival for comparing him to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Meral Aksener, the leader of Turkey’s Iyi Party (Good Party), a conservative nationalist nicknamed the “Iron Lady,” said in parliament on Tuesday that Netanyahu and Erdogan used similar tactics to stay in power.
She said that Netanyahu’s recent campaign in Gaza against armed Palestinian groups, which Erdogan has slammed, was motivated by politics and a desire to win popular support after four inconclusive elections in two years.
“Erdogan’s Israel version, Benjamin Netanyahu, did not hesitate to target the lives of civilians and children to scupper his political rivals and protect his seat,” she said.
Erdogan’s vehement rejection of Israel’s military activity drew sharp rebuke from the US, which accused Erdogan of making “anti-Semitic” remarks.
Erdogan defended himself on Wednesday, vowing to “cry at the highest volume wherever we see cruelty.” Erdogan’s support for the Palestinian cause has helped him gain support across the Middle East.