Israel will face a terrible fate just like others who put their dirty hands on al-Quds [Jerusalem], Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during a speech to his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) party convention on April 26, 2019.
Branding Israel as an occupying power that derives its strength from the support it receives from the United States, Erdoğan said there is no use in making history repeat itself, suggesting that Israel is doomed. He emphasized that Turkey would continue to defend the rights of its Palestinian brothers and Jerusalem even if it remains the only country to do so.
Bashing Israel has become a hallmark of the Turkish president in his public speeches, often to shift voters’ focus from internal troubles his government is having, especially in Turkey’s deteriorating economy and finances. During the last campaign for the March 31 elections, Erdoğan had targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his son and accused them of being associated with the terrorist attack that took place in New Zealand in which a white supremacist killed 50 Muslims in two mosques during Friday prayer.
Turkish-Israeli ties have deteriorated in the last decade, with Eitan Naeh, the Israeli ambassador to Turkey, forced to leave the country on May 16, 2018 following the killing of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border. He was the first ambassador assigned to Turkey, in December 2016, after six years of low-level diplomatic representation due to the Mavi Marmara crisis of May 2010.
A June 2016 normalization agreement that allowed both countries to reciprocally appoint ambassadors was short-lived amid constant verbal attacks by Erdoğan against Israel.