Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Courts More Controversy With Remarks

Ahmet DavutogluTurkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had committed crimes against humanity comparable to those behind the Paris attacks that left 17 dead.

“Netanyahu has committed crimes against humanity the same like those terrorists who carried out the Paris massacre,” he told reporters in televised comments.

His comments risk ratcheting up a new row in the increasingly tense relationship between the two countries after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted Netanyahu for “daring” to attend the weekend’s anti-terror solidarity march in Paris after the attacks.

Netanyahu spat back Wednesday that Erdogan’s “shameful remarks must be repudiated by the international community.”

Davutoglu said Netanyahu’s “crimes against humanity” included the deadly 2010 Israeli assault on a Turkish aid vessel and last year’s onslaught on Hamas-controlled Gaza.

In 2010, Israeli commandos stormed the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the largest ship in an aid flotilla for the besieged Gaza Strip.

Nine Turks died in the raid and one more died in hospital this year after four years in a coma. Meanwhile nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel’s offensive on Gaza earlier last year.

Davutoglu said Netanyahu was “the head of a government which massacred children playing in the beaches in Gaza and destroyed thousands of houses.”

He said the Israeli premier’s government “made almost natural the killing of Palestinians at every opportunity.”

It had also “massacred our citizens by launching an operation against an aid ship in the international waters.”

Turkey’s relations with Israel once a key partnership for the Jewish state with a Muslim nation,  have steadily deteriorated under Erdogan’s rule.

The Turkish president is known for his angry outbursts at the Jewish state, declaring in July that Israel had “surpassed Hitler in barbarism”.

In 2009, Erdogan walked off the stage at the World Economic Forum after an angry exchange with the the then Israeli president, Shimon Peres.

said freedom of the press does not give a licence to insult, describing the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as a “grave provocation”.

“Freedom of the press does not mean freedom to insult,” Davutoglu told reporters in Ankara a day after leading Turkish daily Cumhuriyet and Internet sites published cartoons featuring the prophet from the special Charlie Hebdo issue. “We cannot allow insults to the prophet… Printing the cartoon is a grave provocation,” he said.

A Turkish court on Wednesday ordered a block on websites featuring the controversial front cover of the first issue of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo since the massacre at its offices, as anger grew in the Islamic world over the edition.

The court in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, responding to a petition brought by a single lawyer, ordered the block on websites displaying the cover showing the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, the state Anatolia news agency reported.

The prophet sheds a tear and holds a sign with the viral slogan “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”), in a gesture of apparent repentance after the killing of 12 people last week in an attack by Islamist gunmen on Charlie Hebdo’s offices.

Earlier, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, which strongly opposes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was the sole publication in a majority Muslim country to reproduce cartoons and articles from the special Charlie Hebdo issue.

But it stopped short of publishing the controversial cover in the four page pull-out issue, with the image appearing in smaller form to illustrate two columns by commentators




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