Erdogan Urges Putin To Teach Israel A ‘Lesson’

(Alexei Druzhinin / Getty)

Anders Hagstrom White House Correspondent
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the international community needs to “teach a deterrent lesson” to Israel in a Wednesday call discussing the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Israel has unleashed hundreds of airstrikes on military targets in Gaza in response to over 1,000 rockets fired by Hamas terrorists operating in the strip. Erdogan responded to the violence by calling Israel a “terror state” for its handling of violent riots outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Friday. (RELATED: Israel Assassinates Top Hamas Commander, Islamist Soldiers In Targeted Airstrikes: Report)

“The cruel Israel, terror state Israel is mercilessly and unethically attacking Muslims in Jerusalem,” Erdogan said, referring to the Israeli police’s response to the rioting.

At least 56 Palestinians were killed, a figure that includes 14 children and Hamas targets. The Israeli military said it killed 25 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members during its airstrikes, according to The Wall Street Journal. Additionally, seven Israelis, including one Israeli child, were killed by Hamas’ rockets.

Turkish President and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a meeting of members of the AK Party at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, on February 24, 2021. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkey could pose a threat to Israel if it decides to intervene in the conflict, which is the most severe exchange of rocket attacks and air strikes in years. For now, Erdogan has only called on Putin and the U.N. to punish Israel. He did say, however, that “we will do everything we can to ensure the cruel are sentenced to the fate they deserve” if the international community doesn’t act.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed not to back down from the airstrikes late Tuesday, saying the rocket attacks cannot go unpunished.

“Hamas and Islamic Jihad have paid, and will pay, a very heavy price for their aggression,” he said. “This campaign will take time.”