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Turkey's Erdogan compares Netanyahu to Hitler, drawing Israel's rebuke

The Turkish president’s  inflammatory comments drawing a parallel between Hitler to Netanyahu once again have ramped up tensions between Turkey and Israel.

ANKARA/PARIS — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became entangled in yet another Hitler quarrel on Wednesday after the former said that the Israeli leader was no different from him. 

"They used to speak ill of [German Nazi leader Adolf] Hitler. What difference do you have from Hitler? They are going to make us miss Hitler. Is what this Netanyahu is doing any less than what Hitler did? It is not," Erdogan said.

"He is richer than Hitler, he gets the support from the West. All sorts of support comes from the United States. And what did they do with all this support? They killed more than 20,000 Gazans," Erdogan continued. 

The comments drew sharp rebuke not just from Netanyahu but also other Israeli leaders.

'Genocide' against Kurds

In exchange, Netanyahu accused Erdogan of carrying out "genocide against the Kurds."

Erdogan "holds [the] world record of imprisoning journalists who object [to] his regime" and "is the last one to give us a lesson in morals," he wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. 

Netanyahu added that the Israeli army is fighting "against the most despicable and cruel terrorist organization in the world, Hamas-Daesh, which perpetrated crimes against humanity, an organization Erdogan is praising and is hosting its senior officials."

Israeli President Isaac Herzog also “strongly condemned” the remarks. “In all of human history, the Holocaust stands alone in its horror and enormity, and his words are deeply offensive to every Jew around the world, and to the memory of the millions of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis,” Herzog said. 

“There is no struggle more just than the war against the terrorist organization Hamas, which brutally and barbarically murdered Jews, as well as Muslims, and those of other faiths and nationalities,” he added.

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet criticized Erdogan too, saying that his words "vilify the memory of the Holocaust and distort the reality." Opposition head Yair Lapid also joined in the condemnations.

Erdogan has been accusing Israel of perpetrating war crimes over its actions in Gaza, to Israeli denials.

The comments on Wednesday and the ensuing quarrel are part a recurring theme in ties between Israel and Turkey under Erdogan and Netanyahu. Erdogan has also drawn similarities between Hitler and the Israeli prime minister several times over the past years. 

Turkey and Israel restored their diplomatic ties last year after a decade-long antagonism over disagreements on the Palestinian cause. Erdogan and Netanyahu held their first official meeting in September in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly summit. 

Yet the Israel-Hamas war has torn the burgeoning detente between two countries into tatters. Israel and Turkey recalled their ambassadors from each others’ capitals following the war's onset.