Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday compared Israel's actions against Palestinian Arabs in Gaza to the Nazi persecution of the Jews in World War II.
"There is no difference between the atrocity faced by the Jewish people in Europe 75 years ago and the brutality that our Gaza brothers are subjected to," he told a summit of Islamic leaders in Istanbul, according to AFP.
Erdogan had called the extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul following the deaths of some 60 Gazans in the violent riots along the Gaza border.
He added that the leadership of a people "who were subjected to all kinds of torture in the concentration camps during World War II is attacking the Palestinians with methods similar to the Nazis."
"I will say openly and clearly that what Israel is doing is banditry, brutality and state terror," he charged.
Erdogan had earlier told a mass rally in Istanbul that as the victims of the Holocaust, the Jewish people of Israel should stop their government's actions against the Palestinians.
"We believe a people who were victims of the Holocaust will not give consent to the crime against humanity committed by their own state," he said.
The Turkish president has upped his anti-Israel rhetoric in recent days following the deaths of Gazans in the violent “March of the Return” riots on the Israel-Gaza border.
On Tuesday, Erdogan accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of having blood on his hands.
"Netanyahu is the PM of an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people's lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions. He has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can't cover up crimes by attacking Turkey," Erdogan tweeted.
Netanyahu later fired back, saying, "A man who sends thousands of Turkish soldiers to hold the occupation of northern Cyprus and invades Syria will not preach to us when we defend ourselves from an attempted infiltration by Hamas.”
"A man whose hands are stained with the blood of countless Kurdish citizens in Turkey and Syria is the last one who can preach to us about combat ethics," Netanyahu added.
Erdogan later insisted that Hamas is not a terrorist organization.
“Reminder to Netanyahu: Hamas is not a terrorist organization and Palestinians are not terrorists. It is a resistance movement that defends the Palestinian homeland against an occupying power. The world stands in solidarity with the people of Palestine against their oppressors,” he tweeted.
Israel and Turkey signed a comprehensive reconciliation deal in 2016, ending a six-year diplomatic standoff following a violent encounter between Israeli soldiers and Islamist radicals on a ship attempting to break through the security blockade on Gaza.
However, Turkish officials, and particularly Erdogan, have continued to verbally attack and criticized Israel even after the agreement was signed.
The “March of the Return” riots have been ongoing since March 30 and escalated on Monday when the United States officially opened its new embassy in Jerusalem.
Earlier this week, one of the leaders of Hamas, which encouraged the riots, openly admitted that most of the Gazans killed by Israeli fire during border protests and clashes were members of the terrorist group.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)