Erdogan and Rouhani discuss Palestinians in phone call
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani about Israel’s military attacks on Palestinians, the presidency’s Directorate of Communications said on Sunday.
In a statement, the office said Erdoğan explained to Rouhani that Turkey had already made firm its opposition to Israel’s attacks against Palestinian communities in the “strongest manner”. The Turkish leader also stressed the importance of maintaining Islamic unity in the face of the current crisis.
Turkey has been outspoken in its condemnation of Israel since Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protestors and conducted a raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, in Jerusalem on May 9.
President Erdoğan condemned Israel as a “terrorist state” and has pushed for unity among Muslim countries in opposition to any attacks on the Palestinian people. Speaking virtually to the Oragnisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday, Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu vowed to take whatever action “necessary” over Palestine.
Iran’s leaders aggressively rejected Israel’s crackdown on Palestinian protestors in Jerusalem and subsequent military strikes on the Gaza Strip. Like Turkey, Iran is an important political supporter of Hamas, which has launched rocket attacks against Israel since the Jerusalem crisis escalated.
Israel has continued its air campaign against Hamas targets and has attracted withering criticism for endangering civilians with its airstrikes. On Saturday, an Israeli airstrike destroyed a building housing international news agencies, increasing the condemnation against what observers say is a reckless response to the attacks against it.
The number of Palestinians killed since the strikes began last week has risen to 197, including over 40 children, according to Reuters.