Israel’s UN Envoy: Erdogan has turned Turkey into a ‘Regional Hub for Terror’

SOURCE: (Times of Israel)

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations on Monday blasted Turkey’s invasion of Syria, and accused Ankara of promoting anti-Semitism and the ethnic cleansing of Kurds.

Danny Danon told the Security Council’s monthly Middle East meeting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “has been destabilizing the region through violence and supporting terror organizations,” adding that Turkey’s “shocking” incursion into Syria had come as no surprise.

Once-warm relations between Israel and Turkey have greatly deteriorated since Erdogan came to power. The Islamist leader is a vocal critic of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, and he has good relations with the territory’s terrorist Hamas rulers.

“Erdogan has turned Turkey into a safe haven for Hamas terrorists and a financial center for funneling money to subsidize terror attacks,” Danon said. “Erdogan’s Turkey shows no moral or human restraint toward the Kurdish people. Erdogan has turned Turkey into a regional hub for terror.”

Danon said Erdogan was dragging his country down an “imperialist path. He threatens journalists, persecutes religious minorities and promotes anti-Semitism.”

The Israeli envoy added that Erdogan was not only persecuting Kurds in Turkey, but sending troops “to massacre Kurdish people in Syria as well.”

“Israel warns against the ethnic cleansing of the Kurds,” he said, “and calls upon the international community to take action and provide aid to the Kurdish people.”

Last week, an official in the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who spoke on condition of anonymity, called on Israel to take action against Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria and also expressed confidence that the Jewish people would not neglect the plight of Kurds in northern Syria, invoking its history of persecution.

On October 10, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced Turkey’s invasion of Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria and said Israel was prepared to offer humanitarian aid to the Kurds there.

The Security Council’s Middle East meeting almost always focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an issue most of the speakers chose to address on Monday.

Danon said it was “a disgrace” that the council focused on Israel “as Erdogan expands his terror campaign into Syria.”

Turkey’s UN Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu dismissed Danon’s speech as a “daily dosage of lies” from “the representative of a government of terror.”

“Those who want to advance their political careers over the dead bodies of children cannot lecture us about international law and human rights,” he said.

Sinirlioglu suggested the agenda item for the council meeting should be changed from “the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine” to “the situation in the Middle East, including Israel’s crimes against humanity.”

He accused Israel of violating “the basic rights of Palestinians on a daily basis,” cited a UN Commission of Inquiry report earlier this year that said Israeli soldiers had intentionally fired on civilians and may have committed crimes against humanity during a string of crackdowns against Palestinian demonstrators last year in Gaza. The envoy stressed that a two-state solution that would establish an independent Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital was the only way to peace.

Turkey’s foreign minister said Monday that his country’s military will attack any Syrian Kurdish fighter that remains along the border area in northeast Syria after a deadline for them to leave expires.

Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that Russian and Syrian officials had provided information that some Kurdish fighters had pulled out of the border area, but others still had not. The Kurdish withdrawal is in line with a Russian-Turkish agreement reached last week.

The Syrian Kurdish fighters have until 3 p.m. GMT Tuesday to pull back to positions about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the Turkish border. Turkey and Russia will conduct joint patrols along a border strip once the Kurdish forces leave. Cavusoglu said a Russian military delegation was scheduled to arrive in Turkey to discuss the planned joint patrols.

Turkey is to keep sole control of a large section in the center of the border, most of which it captured in its invasion launched October 9. Turkey wanted to drive the US-allied Kurdish forces out of a “safe zone” along the border, after US President Donald Trump pulled American troops from the area. Syrian Kurdish forces have turned to Russia and the Syrian government in Damascus for protection.

US troops were allied with the Kurdish-led fighters for five years in the long and bloody campaign that brought down the Islamic State terror group in Syria.

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