Erdogan Accuses Netanyahu of Being 'Child-killing Tyrant'

Turkish president slams 'the thief who heads Israel' in latest denunciation of the prime minister

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during a rally for the upcoming local elections, in Istanbul, Turkey March 12, 2019.
REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "thief" and a "tyrant" in the latest spat between the two leaders.

The dispute comes after Erdogan's spokesman denounced Netanyahu as a racist for saying that Israel was the nation-state of the Jewish people only. Netanyahu then struck back, calling Erdogan a dictator and criticizing the country for imprisoning journalists.

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Speaking at an election campaign rally on Wednesday, Erdogan addressed Netanyahu as "the thief who heads Israel" in reference to corruption allegations against him.

Erdogan continued: "you are a tyrant. You are a tyrant who slaughters 7-year-old Palestinian kids."

Israel and Turkey were once close allies. But under Erdogan, Turkey has become the most vocal critic of Israel's policies toward Palestinians.