Turkey’s Davutoglu Equates Netanyahu to Paris Attackers

Turkey’s Davutoglu Equates Netanyahu to Paris AttackersTurkey’s Davutoglu Equates Netanyahu to Paris Attackers

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday compared Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to the militants who killed 17 people in Paris last week, saying both had “committed crimes against humanity.”

Davutoglu said Israel’s bombardments of Gaza and its storming in 2010 of a Turkish-led aid convoy headed there, in which 10 Turks were killed, were on a par with the Paris attacks, whose dead included shoppers at a Jewish supermarket.

The comments at a news conference escalated a war of words between the two sides: Israel’s far-right foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called President Tayyip Erdogan an “anti-Semitic bully” for criticizing Netanyahu’s attendance, with other world leaders, at a Paris solidarity march for the attack victims on Sunday, Reuters said in a report.

Separately on Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman issued a statement saying it was “Islamophobic and unacceptable” for Netanyahu to link the Paris bloodshed to Islam.

“The Israeli government must halt its aggressive and racist policies instead of attacking others and sheltering behind anti-Semitism,” spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on the presidential website.

Turkey condemned the Jan. 7 attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in which gunmen killed 12 people, but has also warned that rising Islamophobia in Europe risks inflaming unrest by Muslims.

Davutoglu also criticized the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet for publishing excerpts of Charlie Hebdo’s latest edition, saying freedom of the press did not extend to insulting religious values. “Freedom of press does not include insulting the Prophet,” Davutoglu said.