Sunday’s pro-Palestinian march in Istanbul, Turkey, drew tens of thousands in response to recent Israeli defense attacks on the Gaza Strip and threats of a ground invasion.
Reports show large-scale demonstrations were held on Istanbul’s peninsula on Friday and Saturday to protest Israel’s reply to the Palestinian terrorist Hamas’ October 8 attack on Israel. Both of Erdogan’s sons and a son-in-law were present at the demonstration on Saturday.
Throughout his twenty years in power, Erdogan has taken numerous pro-Palestinian stances, most notably a scathing attack on then-Israeli president Shimon Peres while attending the Davos forum in 2009.
But last year, he ended a diplomatic impasse with Israel. On the fringes of the UN General Assembly in New York in September, he had his first meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Nonetheless, the Turkish president has spoken out strongly against the alleged indiscriminate massacre of innocent people in Gaza, saying that Israel didn’t behave like a state this week.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the strongman leader of Turkey, has been accused of ordering his soldiers to conduct the same war crimes against Kurdish towns in northern Syria that he warned Israel not to perpetrate in Gaza.
On October 8, at a Cabinet meeting, Erdogan made the statement that Turkey does not murder children, in contrast to Israel.
Turkey had already begun waging extensive military strikes in Syria in an attempt to defeat Syrian Kurdish parties it deems terrorist insurgents before Hamas launched its attack on Israel. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is led by Kurds, is the Pentagon’s principal partner in the war in opposition to the Islamic State in Syria, but Turkey refuses to differentiate between the two, calling them one and the same.
The leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazlum Kobane, tweeted that the Turkish president’s statement calling the war in Gaza that leads to cutting off electricity and water, destroying roads and infrastructure, places of worship, and schools as ‘massacres’ is mirroring what his government is doing in northeast Syria. Every day, the Turkish occupation commits massacres and war crimes.