ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday an Israeli law declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination legitimizes oppression and shows that Israel is a fascist and racist country where the spirit of Adolf Hitler has re-emerged.
Last week, the Israeli Knesset passed a “nation-state” law, angering members of the country’s Arab minority and prompting Turkey to accuse Israel of trying to form “an apartheid state”.
Speaking to members of his ruling AK Party in parliament, Erdogan said the law showed Israel was “the most Zionist, fascist and racist country in the world”, and called on the international community to mobilize against Israel.
“The Jewish nation-state law passed in the Israeli parliament shows this country’s real intentions. It legitimizes all unlawful actions and oppression,” Erdogan said.
“There is no difference between Hitler’s Aryan race obsession and Israel’s mentality. Hitler’s spirit has re-emerged among administrators in Israel,” he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying that under Erdogan, Turkey was turning into a “dark dictatorship”, accusing the Turkish president of “massacring Syrians and Kurds”.
Erdogan said Israel had shown itself to be a “terror state” by attacking Palestinians with tanks and artillery, adding that the move would “drown the region and world in blood and suffering”.
The law, backed by Israel’s right-wing government, passed through parliament after months of political argument.
“This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had told the Knesset.
The European Union’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini also expressed her concern last week, saying the law would complicate a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Turkey and Israel, former allies, expelled each other’s top diplomats in May during a row over clashes in which dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border. However, the two sides continue to trade with one another.
The two countries have long been at loggerheads over Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians and Jerusalem’s status. Erdogan has called for a summit of Muslim leaders twice in the past six months after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Reporting by Gulsen Solaker and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans and Angus MacSwan