The United States on Tuesday sharply criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for what it called “anti-Semitic” remarks amid his denunciations of Israel’s strikes in Gaza, Agence France-Presse reported.
“The United States strongly condemns President Erdoğan’s recent anti-Semitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“We urge President Erdoğan and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence,” he said.
Erdoğan, whose political roots are in Islamism, has championed the Palestinian cause during his 18-year rule even though Turkey remains one of the few Muslim-majority nations with relations with Israel.
He has accused Israel of “terrorism” against the Palestinians and recently said, “It is in their nature.”
“They are murderers, to the point that they kill children who are five or six years old. They only are satisfied by sucking their blood,” he said.
Erdoğan also lashed out at US President Joe Biden for his diplomatic support to Israel, saying the US leader has “bloody hands.”
The latest episodes are likely to sour further the relationship between Turkey and the United States.
Biden took office vowing a harder line on Erdoğan, whom he has described as an autocrat, and last month took the landmark step of recognizing the mass killings of Armenians by the waning Ottoman Empire in 1915-17 as genocide.
Biden and Erdoğan nonetheless had agreed to hold a first meeting on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels next month.