Turkey Declares 'Three Days of Mourning' for Gaza

Deputy Prime Minister calls Operation Protective Edge a 'massacre' in latest anti-Israel move.

AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 8:51 PM

Anti-Israel demonstration in Turkey (file)
Anti-Israel demonstration in Turkey (file)

Turkey declared three days of national mourning on Monday, in a "solidarity move" for "Palestinian victims" of Israel's self-defense operation in Gaza, which it called a "massacre." 

"We condemn Israel's massacre of the Palestinian people," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters in Ankara in televised comments after a cabinet meeting.

"In a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people, three days of mourning have been declared starting from tomorrow (Tuesday)."

The move is the latest in a series of anti-Israel moves by Ankara, which has turned into a fountain of anti-Semitic hate, fueled mostly by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. 

"Turkey has maintained a principled stand against Israel's aggression. It has stood by the righteous, not by the powerful," said Arinc. "We are backing the truce talks, but Israel should stop arbitrary practices that can be considered as mass retribution and realize that the national security can only be restored through fair peace."

The statements follow Israel's decision to pull diplomatic staff from its embassies in Ankara and Istanbul, after violent riots there Thursday night resulted in injuries and damage.

Israel has linked the violence to a number of inflammatory and anti-Semitic hate slurs from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has become increasingly vocal against Israel after the IDF moved to protect millions of Israelis from Hamas rocket fire. 

Erdogan has threatened to end the normalization process with Israel over "state terrorism" before, and also accused Israel of "lies" because "not enough" Israeli Jews have died in the conflict. 

"They say (Hamas) is firing rockets. But is there anybody who died?" he asked. "The number of Palestinians that you (Israel) killed is now 100. Their (Israel's) life is based on lies." 

"You will first stop this oppression. If not, it is not possible to realize normalization between Turkey and Israel," Erdogan said, on a separate occasion. 

On Thursday night, he claimed Israel had a long history of "genocide" against Muslims, in a series of confused and violent slurs relating to the Ramadan fast. 

"This is not the first time we have been confronted by such situations," Erdogan told a meeting of Islamic scholars gathered in Istanbul for Ramadan, a holy month of fasting for Muslims. "Since (the creation of the state of Israel) in 1948 we have been witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every day and every month. But above all we are witnessing this attempt at systematic genocide every Ramadan."

Earlier Saturday, the Anti-Defamation League called out Erdogan on the string of anti-Semitic comments, demanding that he stop his anti-Israel tirade and crack down on anti-Semitism in the Turkish media. 

But hours later, he made a series of remarks comparing Israelis to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.