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World News

'Don't you feel disturbed'? Muslim leader challenges Christians to speak out against Israeli violence

by Reuters Journalist

The Turkish President has urged Western Christians to challenge Israel over its continuing military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that if Türkiye and Germany jointly achieve a humanitarian cease-fire in the ongoing conflict, the region can be rescued from what he called "the ring of fire".

Speaking at the joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Erdogan said 13,000 Palestinians – including children, women and elderly people – have been killed so far in the war and almost all of Gaza has been destroyed due to Israel's attacks on the besieged enclave.

"Does Israel currently have nuclear weapons? Yes, but if you ask Israel, they won't admit it because they are very good at using lies," the Turkish leader said.

Erdogan said that attacks on children and hospitals have no place in the Jewish holy book.

"Shooting hospitals or killing children does not exist in the Torah, you can't do it," he said.

“Did Israel kill thousands of Palestinians? Yes it did. Did Israel target hospitals, houses of worship and churches? Yes, it did. I, as a Muslim, am disturbed by this.

President Erdogan criticised Western Christian leaders for failing to condemn attacks on churches.

"Don't you, as a Christian, feel disturbed by the bombing of churches? Why don't you take a stance against these actions?" 

"Will we just stand idly by with our hands tied?" he said. "Will we not speak out against this? If we remain silent, with our hands, arms, and tongues tied, we cannot be held accountable in history for this."

President Erdogan emphasized that unlike Germany, which acknowledges a historical debt to the Jews for the Holocaust, Türkiye has never wronged them and does not owe anything to them, therefore the country can freely voice its concerns and criticisms about Israel's human rights violations.

"We don't owe anything to Israel.  But those who are in debt with Israel cannot speak freely."

The Palestinian death toll from an ongoing Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip has surged past 12,000, the Gaza government said on Friday.

The victims include more than 5,000 children and 3,300 women, while 30,000 others have been injured, according to the government’s media office.

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