Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip ErdoganREUTERS/Umit Bektas

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday urged Palestinian Arabs to unite against Israel following a meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul, AFP reported.

Erdogan said Palestinian Arab unity was “vital” following the talks at the Dolmabahçe palace, which Turkish media reports said lasted more than two and a half hours.

“The strongest response to Israel and the path to victory lie in unity and integrity,” Erdogan said, according to a Turkish presidency statement.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz condemned the meeting between Erdogan and Haniyeh, writing on social media, “Muslim Brotherhood alliance: rape, murder, desecration of corpses and the burning of babies. Erdogan, shame on you!”

In response, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Öncü Keçeli wrote, “It is the Israeli authorities who should be ashamed. They have massacred nearly 35,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children.”

While Israel and Turkey formally announced in August of 2022 that they would normalize relations by returning the ambassadors and consuls, after years of tensions, Erdogan has resumed his frequent verbal attacks on Israel since the start of the war in Gaza.

In one speech, the Turkish President said that 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."

Last month, Erdogan again lashed out at Israel and at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying they are “like today’s Nazis.”

Foreign Minister Israel Katz later summoned the Turkish deputy ambassador for a reprimand in the wake of Erdogan's attacks on Netanyahu.

On Tuesday, Erdogan said that Netanyahu was the main one to blame for Iran's first direct attack on Israel.

"The main one responsible for the tension that gripped our hearts on the evening of April 13 is Netanyahu and his bloody administration," Erdogan was quoted as having said in televised remarks.

"Those who have been silent for months about Israel's aggressive attitude immediately condemned the Iranian response," he added. "But it's Netanyahu himself who is the first who should be condemned."