Erdogan claims Israel will “set its sights” on Turkish territory

Turkish territory

The war in Gaza is increasingly looking like it will spill over and create a regional conflict between powers, with Turkey and Israel looking like they are preparing for conflict.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed that Israel will “set its sights” on Turkish territory if Hamas is defeated in Gaza, according to AFP. The May 15th statement is Erdogan’s latest symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian militant group, having recently claimed its fighters were receiving medical treatment in Turkey.

“Do not think that Israel will stop in Gaza,” Erdogan told his party lawmakers, insinuating a possible future Israeli claim to Turkish territory.

“Unless it’s stopped… this rogue and terrorist state will set its sights on Anatolia sooner or later,” he added, referring to the large Turkish peninsula comprises more than half of the nation’s territory, stating that “we [Turkey] will continue to stand by Hamas, which fights for the independence of its own land and which defends Anatolia.”

A vocal critic of Israel’s war in Gaza following Hamas’ October 7th, 2023, attack on southern Israel, Erdogan has consistently expressed support for the Palestinian militant group as defenders of their homeland.

READ: Turkey to join South Africa genocide case against Israel

Hamas’ attack killed 1,139 people, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli social security data, as-well-as the seizure of 250 hostages, 128 of whom Israel estimates remain alive in Gaza.

Israel’s retaliatory blockade, bombardment, and invasion of the Palestinian enclave has killed approximately 35,000 people to date, though many more are unaccounted for and are presumed dead.

On May 13th, the Turkish leader said over 1,000 Hamas members were being treated in Turkish hospitals amid the ongoing conflict though the group is classed as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US, EU, and their allies.

Erdogan later claimed to have “misspoke,” having meant that Gazans more generally were receiving medical treatment in Turkey, as reported by Reuters.

AFP / Reuters

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