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Erdoğan urges Israel to stop ‘madness,’ end Gaza strikes

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday called on Israel to “immediately stop this madness” and end its attacks on targets in Gaza after Israeli forces intensified strikes on the Palestinian territory, Agence France-Presse reported.

“The Israeli bombardments on Gaza intensified last night and once again targeted women, children and innocent civilians and worsened the ongoing humanitarian crisis,” Erdoğan said on X, formerly Twitter.

“Israel must immediately stop this madness and end its attacks.”

Israel has been building up to a ground invasion since Hamas fighters crossed the border on Oct. 7 and killed 1,400 people, mainly civilians, and took 229 hostages, according to Israel.

More than 7,300 people have been killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes on the territory, including about 3,000 children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

Erdoğan also encouraged a heavy turnout for a rally in support of Palestinians in İstanbul on Saturday, organized by his Islamo-conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), which could see around 1 million people attend.

“We will declare loud and clear that we stand alongside the Palestinian people against Israel’s persecution,” he said.

During his two decades in power, Erdoğan has repeatedly taken a stand in favor of the Palestinians, but last year, he also moved to restore diplomatic relations with Israel, meeting in September with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first time.

But on Wednesday, he canceled plans to visit Israel, citing its “inhumane” war against Hamas militants in Gaza, whom he described not as a terrorist group but as “liberators” fighting for their land, drawing an angry condemnation from the Israeli government.

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