Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an accused the West on Monday of hypocrisy for its stance over the attack on satirical journal Charlie Hebdo and hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket in Paris, while failing to condemn anti-Muslim acts in Europe.
Speaking alongside visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Erdo?an also denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for attending a solidarity rally in France on Sunday with other world leaders after the Paris attacks.
“How can a man who has killed 2,500 people in Gaza with state terrorism wave his hand in Paris, like people are waiting in excitement for him to do so? How dare he go there?” he said.
“You should first give an account for the children and the women you have killed,” added Erdo?an, who has been an outspoken critic of Israeli offensives against Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip, despite close commercial ties between Israel and Turkey.
Under Netanyahu, Israel has waged two wars with Hamas-ruled Gaza – in November 2012 and July-August 2014. According to UN figures, 174 Palestinians died in the 2012 war. In last year’s war, Palestinian medical officials said that somewhat more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians. The combined Israeli toll was 79 in the two conflicts.
Erdo?an did not attend the Sunday march, though Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu participated.
“The West’s hypocrisy is obvious. As Muslims, we’ve never taken part in terrorist massacres. Behind these lie racism, hate speech and Islamophobia,” Erdo?an said. “Please, the administrations in those countries where our mosques are attacked need to take measures.
“Games are being played with the Islamic world, we need to be aware of this,” said Erdo?an, who traces his political roots to a banned Islamist movement.
Mosques in France, Germany and Sweden have been vandalised before and since the attacks in what Turkey and others see as a growing tide of anti-Muslim sentiment across the continent.
Erdo?an also suggested the attacks that killed 17 people were a failing of the French security forces since the suspects had recently served prison sentences.
“French citizens carry out such a massacre, and Muslims pay the price. That’s very meaningful … Doesn’t their intelligence organisation track those who leave prison?”
Erdo?an blamed Islamophobia for the West’s reluctance to take in more Syrian refugees after nearly four years of civil war, while Turkey hosts more than 1.6 million Syrians.
For their part, European governments have criticised Turkey for allowing Islamic militants from Europe and elsewhere to travel through its territory to fight in neighbouring Syria.
A suspected female accomplice in the Paris attacks came through Turkey to Syria before the killings occurred, Turkish officials said.
An attack on the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo left 12 people dead on Wednesday 7 January, including the artists Cabu and Wolinski.
A subsequent hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket two days later in Paris added four more victims to the death toll in what represented the worst act of terrorism in France in the last 20 years.
European Union governments and officials are discussing responses to the killings and could propose new policies in the coming weeks.
European heads of states attended a mass Paris demonstration on Sunday (11 January), displaying unity against terrorism after the Paris attacks.
- 19 January: EU foreign affairs ministers meeting
- 29 January: Interior ministers meeting
- 12 February: EU leaders to discuss anti-terrorism fight at summit meeting in Brussels
- EurActiv France: Le président turc appelle l’Occident à condamner les actes islamophobes
- EurActiv Germany: Nach Terror-Anschlägen in Paris: Erdo?an wirft Westen Heuchelei vor