Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan 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, Erdogan 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 Erdogan, 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 U.N. 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.
Erdogan 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,” Erdogan 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 Erdogan, 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.
Erdogan 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?”
Erdogan 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.