Erdoğan urges Pope Francis to help end Israel’s ‘massacre’

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday urged Pope Francis to help rally the world to adopt sanctions against Israel for its “massacre” of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Agence France-Presse reported.

The phone call between Erdoğan and the pontiff came as Turkey presses ahead with a furious diplomatic push to help end bloodshed that has claimed the lives of 197 Palestinians and 10 people in Israel since May 10.

Erdoğan told Pope Francis that “Palestinians will continue to be subjected to a massacre unless the international community punishes Israel… with sanctions”, the Turkish presidency said.

The pope’s messages were of “great importance to mobilize the Christian world and the international community”, the Turkish statement added.

The pope on Sunday said the loss of innocent lives in the violence was “terrible and unacceptable”, warning that the conflict risked “degenerating into a spiral of death and destruction.”

Erdoğan, who has vocally championed the Palestinian cause during his 18-year rule, has spoken out repeatedly against Israel’s actions, accusing it of waging “terrorism” last week.

He told the pope on Monday that “all of humanity should be united against” Israel.

“The savagery caused by Israel threatens regional security,” he added.

The Turkish push for sanctions against Israel included a phone call on Monday between Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his British counterpart Dominic Raab.

Çavuşoğlu told Raab it was “essential that the international community should give a stronger reaction” to Israel’s aggression, a Turkish foreign ministry source said.

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