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After comparing Israel to Nazi Germany, Turkey now seeking rapprochement – report

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By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

After months of anti-Israel rhetoric from the highest levels of government, Turkey now wants to improve relations with the Jewish state, Ma’ariv reported Tuesday.

Last week, when the Turkish Deputy Ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Ministry for an official reprimand, the Hebrew daily said that he told Director General Jacob Blitstein, “President Erdogan’s severe rhetoric against Israel stems from Erdogan’s political considerations in the local elections in Turkey.”

After they took place, he said, the president would want to improve ties, starting with both countries returning their ambassadors, who had been recalled just weeks into the Israel-Hamas war due to Turkey’s overt pro-Hamas stance.

Among his harsh condemnations of how Israel is conducting its battle against the terrorist organization, Erdogan has accused Israel of committing “crimes against humanity in Gaza,” said that “Netanyahu and his government are the Nazis of our time,” and threatened to “send [Netanyahu] to Allah to take care of him, make him miserable and curse him.”

The latter statement, made at an election rally last month, led to a previous summons of the Turkish Deputy ambassador to receive “a severe reprimand,” as Foreign Minister Israel Katz described it.

Erdogan has also bashed Western countries for supporting Israel, “a terror state,” he said, whose leaders should be tried for war crimes in the International Court of Justice.

The Turkish leader, whose religious beliefs are similar to those of Hamas, has long refused to label the Gazan group as terrorists and gives their leaders safe haven in his country.

Even after their slaughter of 1,200 people during their surprise October 7 invasion of Israel, the vast majority of them civilians, including infants and the elderly, he called Hamas a legitimate “resistance” organization that “we stand firmly behind,” in a speech to his parliament that garnered applause from the lawmakers.

On Sunday, Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party suffered its worst defeat since its founding two decades ago, losing in over a dozen mayoral elections countrywide.

These included major cities such as Istanbul and the capital, Ankara, whose incumbent Opposition mayors easily retained their seats.  The secular Republican People’s Party, which received almost 38% support nationwide, also wrested away cities in more conservative and religious areas that had been Erdogan strongholds.

Katz posted to X that the resounding defeat was “a clear message to @RTErdogan: Incitement against Israel no longer works, find another horse [to ride on].”

Turkey experts cited anger over high double-digit inflation and interest rates, and the inability to deal with the devastation caused by a double earthquake in February 2023 as additional factors that swayed the voters.

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