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January 12, 2015 6:33 pm

Turkish President Erdoğan Launches Bitter Attack on Netanyahu, Hints at Conspiracy Theory Over Charlie Hebdo Attack

avatar by Ben Cohen

Turkey's president greeted his Palestinian Authority counterpart accompanied by 16 "warriors" dressed in the military styles of successive Turkish empires. Photo: Turkish PM Press&Info

Turkey’s authoritarian President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, became the first world leader to break ranks with yesterday’s message of unity articulated at the Paris anti-terror rally, launching a savage personal attack on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for participating in the event. The Turkish leader also gave an answer bordering on conspiracy theory to a question about the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, opining about “games being played with the Islamic world,” and expressing anger that “French citizens carry out such a massacre, and Muslims pay the price.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – who also attended the rally, despite his continuing record of inciting terror against Israel – Erdoğan lambasted Netanyahu. “How can a man who has killed 2,500 people in Gaza with state terrorism wave his hand in Paris, like people are waiting in excitement for him to do so? How dare he go there?” he demanded. “You should first give an account for the children and the women you have killed.”

The Turkish president then embarked on a rant about Israeli policy in Jerusalem, attacking the Jewish state, according to Turkish newspaper Zaman, for “escalating tensions in the region by violating holy sites along with its recent increasingly aggressive behavior.” Erdoğan also declared that “protecting the Noble Sanctuary in Jerusalem – ” known to Jews as the Temple Mount – “is not only the duty of Palestine, but also the entire Islamic world.” He vowed as well to continue fighting against Israel’s “reckless behavior that recognizes no rules” with other Muslim countries and the international community.

At the same press conference, Erdoğan offered the outlines of a conspiracy theory in a vaguely worded answer to a question about the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. “These [attacks] are all a result of a scenario. There are also games being played with the Islamic world. We need to be aware of this,” he said. “French citizens carry out such a massacre, and Muslims pay the price. That’s very meaningful … Doesn’t their intelligence organization track those who leave prison?”

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For good measure, Erdoğan added, “The West’s hypocrisy is obvious. As Muslims, we’ve never taken part in terrorist massacres. Behind these lie racism, hate speech and Islamophobia.”

At no point in his remarks did Erdoğan, whose prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu was dispatched to the Paris rally, condemn any of the Islamist terrorist atrocities in France last week, or offer his condolences to the families of the victims.

Earlier, Erdoğan gave more than a hint of his regional ambitions when he greeted Abbas with a ceremony featuring sixteen “warriors” dressed in the respective military uniforms of the “16 Great Turkish Empires that ruled in Central or Western Asia, as well as parts of Africa,” including the Karakhanids and the Ottomans.

This story was updated at 7.10 PM on July 12

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