Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday described Western powers as “main culprits” in the “massacre” of Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli army.
The Turkish leader has been a leading international defender of Palestinian rights during his two decades of rule.
He took a more cautious line in the first days after Hamas militants staged a surprise attack on October 7 in which they captured more than 220 hostages and killed more than 1,400 people.
But he has become much more vocal as the number of deaths reported from the Israeli military response has increased.
The Health Ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza said Israeli strikes killed 7,703 people, mostly civilians, including more than 3,500 children.
Erdogan’s Islamic party organized a large pro-Palestinian rally in Istanbul on Saturday which, according to the Turkish leader, attracted 1.5 million people.
He launched a scathing attack on Israel and its Western supporters after taking the stage with a microphone in his hand.
“The main person responsible for the massacre taking place in Gaza is the West,” Erdogan told the crowd waving Turkish and Palestinian flags.
“Leaving aside some conscientious voices…the massacre in Gaza is entirely the work of the West.”
Erdogan added that Israel was behaving like a “war criminal.”
“Of course, every country has the right to defend itself. But where is the justice in this matter?”
He accused Western powers of “shedding tears” over the deaths of civilians in Ukraine and turning a blind eye to the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
“We are against all these double standards and all these hypocrisies,” he said.
And he accused Israel’s allies of creating a “crusade war atmosphere” pitting Christians against Muslims.
“Listen to our call for dialogue,” President Erdogan said. “No one loses in a just peace.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)