Turkey to provide evidence against Israel in South Africa’s ICJ case, says Erdogan

FM Israel Katz invokes Armenian genocide in rebuttal to Turkish president’s accusations of genocide


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks as he announces Murat Kurum as his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) candidate in Istanbul's upcoming mayoral election in March, in Istanbul on January 7, 2024. Murat Kurum will represent Erdogan's Islamic conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the March 31 municipal elections in which control of Turkey's main cities will be up for grabs. The secular opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) seized back control of Istanbul for the first time since Erdogan ruled the city as mayor in the 1990s in watershed 2019 polls. (Photo by YASIN AKGUL / AFP) (Photo by YASIN AKGUL/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkey is submitting evidence to back up South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Friday, Erdogan stated that Turkey will continue to provide documentation of Israel’s attacks in the Gaza Strip, mainly in the form of visual evidence, to help strengthen South Africa’s allegations that Israel is committing a genocide against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

“I believe Israel will be convicted there. We believe in the justice of the International Court of Justice,” said Erdogan, who has been vocal in his hostility against Israel since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

Last week, South Africa presented its case against Israel in front of the UN’s top court, arguing on Thursday that the intent of Israel’s attack is to bring about "the destruction of the population" of Gaza. South Africa’s case is based on alleged comments of genocidal incitement issued by senior Israeli cabinet ministers. Israel has denied accusations of genocide as “baseless”, restating that the IDF’s attacks on Gaza have been targeting members of Hamas who are hiding among the city’s civilian population.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz snapped back at Erdogan’s statement on Friday with a post on X which read: “The President of Turkey, from a country with the Armenian Genocide in its past, now boasts of targeting Israel with unfounded claims.”

“Israel stands in defense, not destruction, against your barbarian allies,” Katz added.

As Israel never formally recognised the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915-1917 as a genocide, largely in an effort to maintain its relations with Turkey, Katz’s tweet marked what some reports believe to be a calculated escalation against Turkey.

Since Oct. 7 Erdogan has railed against the Jewish State, calling Israel a “terrorist state” and repeatedly defending the actions of Hamas. In late October, Israel recalled its diplomats from Turkey over the president’s accusations that Israel was committing war crimes and, shortly after, Turkey recalled its diplomats from Israel, citing the “unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Gaza caused by the continuing attacks by Israel against civilians and Israel’s refusal of calls for a ceasefire and the continuous and unhindered flow of humanitarian aid.”

On Monday Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir called Erdogan a “full-on Nazi”, writing in a post on X: “I call on Israelis not to travel to Turkey, not to buy any Turkish products and not to financially support them. The State of Israel and Israeli citizens must not act with forgiveness toward Turkey. We won’t let ourselves be trampled on.”

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