Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed on Wednesday that Israel would "set its sights" on Turkey if it succeeded in defeating Hamas in the Gaza Strip, AFP reported.

"Do not think that Israel will stop in Gaza," Erdogan told his party lawmakers in the parliament in the capital Ankara.

"Unless it's stopped... this rogue and terrorist state will set its sights on Anatolia sooner or later," he added, referring to the large Turkish peninsula also called Asia Minor that comprises more than half of Turkey's territory.

"We will continue to stand by Hamas, which fights for the independence of its own land and which defends Anatolia," stated Erdogan.

Erdogan has increased his verbal attacks on Israel since the start of the war in Gaza on October 7.

In one speech, the Turkish President said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “committed one of the greatest atrocities of this century in Gaza and has already put his name down in history as the butcher of Gaza."

Earlier this week, Erdogan said that the United States and European countries were not doing enough to pressure Israel to agree a ceasefire in Gaza, after Hamas' move to accept a truce proposal.

A day later, he boasted of the fact that more than 1,000 members of Hamas were being treated in hospitals across Turkey.

A Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, later said that Erdogan had meant to refer to Palestinian Arabs from Hamas-run Gaza in general, rather than Hamas members.

"President Erdogan misspoke, he meant 1,000 Gazans are under treatment, not Hamas members," a Turkish official said, according to Reuters.

The Turkish Trade Ministry recently said it had suspended all export and import operations with Israel due to what it described as its "aggression against Palestine in violation of international law and human rights."

The move came several weeks after Turkey restricted exports to Israel of 54 product categories.

Erdogan later said that Turkey's move to halt trade with Israel was designed to force the country to a ceasefire in Gaza.