Turkish President Erdogan, on Saturday, accused Western powers of being the primary instigators behind the Israeli army’s actions in Gaza and criticized Israel for its ‘war criminal’ conduct.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday called Western powers “the main culprit” behind the Israeli army’s “massacre” of Palestinians in Gaza.

Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted party staged a massive pro-Palestinian rally in Istanbul on Saturday that the Turkish leader said had drawn a crowd of 1.5 million. The Turkish leader has been a leading international supporter of Palestinian rights during his two-decade rule.

He took a more cautious line in the first days after Hamas militants staged a surprise attack on October 7 during which they seized more than 220 hostages and claimed more than 1,400 lives.

But he has become much more vocal as the reported death toll from Israel’s military response has grown.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a rally organized by the AKP party in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, in Istanbul on October 28, 2023. (Photo by Yasin Akgul / AFP)

He unleashed a scathing attack on Israel and its Western supporters after taking the stage with a microphone in his hand.

Erdogan said that Israel was behaving like a “war criminal”. “Of course, every country has the right to defend itself. But where is the justice in this case?” He accused Western powers of “shedding tears” over the death of civilians in Ukraine and turning a blind eye to the death of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“We are against all these double standards and all these hypocrisies,” Erdogan said.

And he accused Israel’s allies of creating a “crusade war atmosphere” pitting Christians against Muslims.

Katrine Dige Houmøller, with AFP