Netanyahu Blasts Erdogan: I Won't Be Lectured on Morality by a Leader Who Bombs Kurds

Remarks come after Turkey's president called Israel a 'terror state'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a conference at the foreign ministry in Jerusalem, December 7, 2017.
Sebastian Scheiner/AP

PARIS – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday after the Turkish leader described Israel as a "terror state."

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"Mr Erdogan has attacked Israel. I'm not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villages in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, helps Iran go around international sanctions and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people," Netanyahu said during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris.

Earlier on Sunday, Erdogan called Israeli forces "terrorists" and, responding to U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, said, "We won't leave Jerusalem to the mercy of a child-murdering country." Erdogan also accused Israel of having no values other than "occupation and plunder." 

Erdogan said Turkey would continue its diplomatic efforts to reverse Trump's announcement, which he calls "null."

Erdogan and Macron will work together to try to persuade the United States to reconsider its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a Turkish presidential source said on Saturday. 

The two leaders agreed during a phone call that the move is worrisome for the region, the source said, adding that Turkey and France would make a joint effort to try to reverse the U.S. decision. 

During the three-hour meeting between Netanyahu and Macron on Sunday, the two leaders discussed a range of topics, including Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem and the international nuclear agreement with Iran.

On the subject of Jerusalem, Netanyahu told Macron that Trump’s declaration was important for peace because, as the prime minister put it, it would bring people down to reality. The Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem would be internationalized is one of the major obstacles to peace, Netanyahu said.