Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday condemned the “humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza, describing Israeli violence against Palestinian protesters as “genocide”.
Fifty-eight Palestinian demonstrators were martyred Monday and hundreds more injured by Israeli armed forces deployed along the Gaza border, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
“Israel is a terrorist state,” said Erdogan.
“We will continue to stand with the Palestinian people with determination.”
Erdogan's remarks came during a special meeting with scholarship students of TRT World and Anadolu Agency in London.
“Israel is carrying out state terror at the moment. Israel is a terrorist state. It proves this with the steps it is taking now as a terrorist state. Unfortunately, the U.S. has engaged in merciless cooperation here [in Palestine] with Israel, just like how it cooperates with the PYD/YPG by saying it is fighting against Daesh.
“What Israel is doing is a genocide, and it is not doing this genocide for the first time today. As you know, this occupation has continued since 1948,” Erdogan said.
He said Turkey, as the term president of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, has called for an emergency meeting Friday, adding that Turkey’s parliament will convene with a special agenda.
Erdogan said Turkey will observe three days of mourning beginning Tuesday to show solidarity with Palestine and a “big rally” will be held on Friday in Istanbul and another on Sunday in Diyarbakir over the violence in Gaza.
He said the Turkish Red Crescent would deliver humanitarian aid and medical equipment to hospitals in Gaza and it has made an emergency purchase of $100,000 for this purpose.
Turkey has also initiated the necessary work to evacuate the injured from Gaza in coordination with the Turkish Armed Forces and the Turkish Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
Erdogan said Turkey has also recalled its ambassadors to the U.S. and Israel for consultations.
“Today is the day that humanity will show solidarity against cruelty and injustice. I urge Christians, Jews and believers of other religions who have common sense to raise their voices against this injustice.
“We will not allow today to be the day the Muslim world loses Jerusalem,” Erdogan said, condemning the “humanitarian tragedy, this genocide”, no matter where it comes from, either Israel or the United States.
“I also condemn those who remain quiet against this [tragedy],” said Erdogan, referring to countries that have shown no reaction to the mass killings in Gaza.
U.S. President Donald Trump sparked an international outcry last December when he unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and vowed to relocate the U.S. embassy to the city.
The embassy relocation coincides with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s establishment in 1948 — an event Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba” or the “the Catastrophe”.
Thousands of Palestinians have gathered on Gaza Strip’s eastern border since Monday morning to take part in protests aimed at commemorating the Nakba anniversary and to protest the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.