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No difference between actions of Hitler, Israeli Premier Netanyahu: Turkish President Erdogan

There is “no difference” between what Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu is doing in the months-long attacks on Gaza and what Nazi leader Adolf Hitler did decades ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

At a science awards ceremony in the capital Ankara, Erdogan said: “How do you (Netanyahu) differ from Hitler? These (actions) will make us look for Hitler as well. Is there anything Netanyahu does that is less than Hitler? No.”

Just like 80 years ago in Nazi Germany, Erdogan said that today, scholars worldwide who have the courage to decry the oppression and persecution in Gaza are facing pressure and threats, referring to academics in the US and elsewhere being fired or censured for standing up for Palestinians.

Germany is still paying the price for Hitler’s actions, he said. “That’s why Germany remains silent … but we don’t owe anyone. We have no debts, it is the West that owes. Because of its debt, it cannot speak up.”

A “witch hunt” has been initiated against anyone criticizing Israel, including students, in many internationally renowned educational institutions, he added.

Speaking to scholars who are facing pressure for “defending human dignity,” in Gaza, he said “the doors of Turkish universities are wide open to you.”

“We realized that the institutions that talk big and spend big budgets are completely hollow when it comes to Israel and its atrocities,” the president said.

“From the UN Security Council to press organizations, from the EU to journalist groups, all institutions that serve as apostles of democracy have failed (over the Israeli attacks on Gaza),” he said.

The Turkish president said that not only international organizations but also the prestigious Western universities have failed on the Gaza issue.

“Can you imagine that university presidents are being questioned and held accountable in Congress just because they advocate for the rights of children, women, and civilians?” he asked.

“The slightest criticism, even within the limits of law and democracy, is suppressed by attaching the label of antisemitism, and is considered a crime.”

The presidents of Harvard, Pennsylvania and MIT universities testified to the US Congress over antisemitism on campuses on Dec. 5.

Emphasizing that hospitals, schools, places of worship, and universities have been bombed and scientists in Gaza with their families were killed, Erdogan said almost 100 journalists trying to expose the” barbarity” in Gaza have been killed.

“We are following with a heavy heart the massacre of 2.5 million people confined to a narrow area of ​​only 360 square kilometers,” he said. “Despite the diplomatic efforts made by conscientious countries such as Türkiye, unfortunately, we couldn’t prevent the killing of hundreds of Gazans every day.”

“Despite our aid, efforts, and contacts, as a Muslim and, most importantly, as a human being, we are experiencing the embarrassment of not being able to stop this oppression within our own conscience,” Erdogan said.

Israel launched a massive military campaign on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, killing at least 21,110 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring 55,243 others, according to local health authorities.

The onslaught has left Gaza in ruins, with 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure damaged or destroyed and nearly 2 million people displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicines.

Around 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.