Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Israel a “terrorist state” and “immoral” for its attacks on Hamas in Gaza and even cursed Austria for raising an Israeli flag in solidarity.

“This is part of their nature” and “they are only satisfied by sucking blood,” the Turkish president said.

Washington believes Erdogan crossed the line into anti-Semitism and condemned Erdogan for his harsh comments over the Israeli strikes in Gaza.

“The United States strongly condemns President Erdogan’s recent anti-Semitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated.

Price further urged Turkish leaders to lower the temperature of their anti-Israel rhetoric.

“We urge President Erdogan and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence.”

Turkey responded on Wednesday to the United States by rejecting the charges of anti-Semitism.

“Accusing our president of anti-Semitism is an illogical and untrue approach. This is a lie said about our president,” claimed Omer Celik, a spokesman for Erdogan’s political party.

Erdogan has frequently accused the Jewish state of “terrorism” and recently claimed “it is in their nature.” He recently demonized Israel with a direct reference to classic anti-Semitic lies about Jews murdering and sucking the blood of non-Jewish children.

“They are murderers, to the point that they kill children who are five or six years old. They only are satisfied by sucking their blood,” claimed Erdogan.

Despite the Turkish denials of anti-Semitism, the blood libel that Jews murder children and suck their blood for religious rituals has been a central element of anti-Semitic propaganda for centuries. While originating in the Christian world, today it is predominantly radical Islamists who promote it, among them Turkey’s Erdogan, the ayatollah leadership of Iran, and Hamas and Hezbollah.

While he was on his rampage, the Turkish president also lashed out at Austria for supporting Israel’s right to defend itself its citizens.

“I curse the Austrian state,” he said.

Israel has been targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza who often use Gazan civilians as human shields, while indiscriminately firing at Israeli civilians, a double war crime under international law.

Russia, another key player in the Middle East and a backer of the Syrian Assad regime, on Wednesday warned Israel’s ambassador in Moscow that further civilian casualties in Gaza are “unacceptable.”

Under the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Moscow and Jerusalem have developed a mutually beneficial and complex understanding in the Middle East despite many differences. Russia’s main interest in the Middle East is securing its military bases in Syria and naval access to the Mediterranean Ocean.

Israel and Russia are both interested in maintaining stability in Syria and Putin has expressed understanding for Israel’s need to respond to Iranian and Hezbollah aggression inside Syria on several occasions.

At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly criticized Israeli military strikes in Syria when they were deemed as undermining Russian interests.

Since coming to power in 2003, Erdogan has emerged as one of Israel’s harshest critics, frequently demonizing the Jewish state and its right to defend herself against terrorism. Erdogan’s radical anti-Israel focus has been part of his wider strategy to present Turkey as a Middle Eastern superpower and defender of Muslims worldwide.

Isolating Israel politically in the Middle East has been a central component in Turkey’s policy. However, Erdogan’s policy backfired with the historic Arab-Israeli Abraham Accords in 2020. Instead, Turkey found itself increasingly isolated and with strained relations to key Arab states, such as Egypt. In addition, Turkey’s economy is failing badly under the Erdogan regime.

Consequently, Erdogan indicated in December that he was interested in improving relations with Israel and even exchanging ambassadors. Erdogan’s recent anti-Semitic remarks, however, could potentially halt diplomatic progress and even seriously set back Turkey’s diplomatic ties with both Israel and the United States.

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