Netanyahu hits back at Erdogan, says Turkey ‘becoming dictatorship’


JERUSALEM: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday Turkey was becoming a “dark dictatorship” as he hit back at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s harsh criticism of a “racist” new Israeli law.

“Erdogan is massacring Syrians and Kurds and has imprisoned tens of thousands of his citizens,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“Turkey under Erdogan is becoming a dark dictatorship, while Israel is meticulously maintaining equal rights for all its citizens, before and after the law.”

Earlier Tuesday, Erdogan branded Israel “the world’s most Zionist, fascist and racist state” after the Israeli parliament passed a law defining the country as the nation state of the Jewish people.

In one of his toughest recent onslaughts against Israel, Erdogan claimed there was “no difference between Hitler’s obsession with the Aryan race and Israel’s understanding that these ancient lands are meant only for Jews.”

“The spirit of Hitler, which led the world to a great catastrophe, has found its resurgence among some of Israel’s leaders,” he added in a speech to his ruling party.

The legislation makes Hebrew the national language of Israel and defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest.

Arabic, previously considered an official language, was granted only special status.

The law does not specify equality and Israel’s democratic character, implying that the country’s Jewish nature comes first, analysts said.