Erdogan Attacks Biden for Stance on Israel’s Gaza Campaign

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized what he described as President Joe Biden’s support for Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip, risking further turmoil in ties with the U.S.

American military aid is enabling Israel’s aggression against Palestinians, who lack the resources to defend themselves, Erdogan said after chairing a cabinet meeting Monday.

The Biden administration says it wants to de-escalate the violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, but the White House is resisting calls to demand a cease-fire in a conflict that has cost at least 200 lives.

Ties between Turkey and the U.S. -- both members of NATO -- have been hurt by diplomatic rows, most recently over Biden’s decision to label the 1915 killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire a genocide. The U.S. has also sanctioned Turkey over Erdogan’s purchase of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia.

“We have seen Biden’s signature on a serious weapons sale to Israel,” Erdogan said, referring to reports of a recent military sale by the U.S. to its closest ally in the Middle East.

“Mr. Biden, you have sided with the Armenians on the so-called Armenian Genocide. Now you are, unfortunately, writing history with blood on your hands in this incident that led to a seriously out-of-proportion attack in Gaza,” Erdogan said.

Israel has responded to Palestinian rocket attacks with devastating air strikes and has begun calling up thousands of reservists, as the region confronts some of the worst violence it’s seen in two decades.

President Biden last week defended the Israeli government’s response to the rocket attacks, saying he has not seen a “significant overreaction” to the deadly barrages.

Erdogan also slammed the Austrian state for supporting Israel, arguing that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government is trying to atone for the Holocaust by “making Muslims pay a price” for it.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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