Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday sued a rival for comparing him to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, AFP reported.

Iyi Party (Good Party) leader Meral Aksener, a conservative nationalist who has been dubbed Turkey's "Iron Lady", had said in parliament on Tuesday that Netanyahu and Erdogan used similar tactics to hold on to power.

She added that Netanyahu's recent campaign against terrorist groups in Gaza, which Erdogan has furiously opposed, was driven by politics and a desire to gain public support after four inconclusive elections in two years.

"Erdogan's Israel version, Benjamin Netanyahu, did not hesitate to target the lives of civilians and children to scupper his political rivals and protect his seat," she charged.

In a televised chat with young people late Wednesday, Erdogan called Aksener's comments "immoral" and added, "Netanyahu has never been and will never be our friend."

Erdogan's lawsuit is seeking 250,000 liras ($30,000) in damages, according to AFP.

While Israel and Turkey have diplomatic relations, those relations have been strained in recent years as Erdogan, who is a strong advocate of Palestinian Arab rights, has frequently criticized Israel.

The two countries 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.

Even since the signing of that agreement, the Islamist Turkish President has continued his verbal attacks on Israel.

In the past, Erdogan has accused Israel of being a “terrorist state”, and called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “terrorist”, after IDF forces opened fire on infiltrators during a Hamas-led confrontation on the Israel-Gaza border.

He also stated that his country will oppose anyone who supports Israel and that Turkey will continue to promote the Palestinian cause regardless of efforts to undermine it mainly by supporters of the Israeli regime.

Earlier this week, Erdogan slammed Austria and US President Joe Biden for their response to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Arabs and accused Israel of being a “terror state”.

Those remarks drew sharp criticism from the United States, which accused Erdogan of making "anti-Semitic" remarks.