Netanyahu Unsuccessfully Tried to Split Up Syria - Turkish PM
18:10 24.12.2018(updated 23:29 24.12.2018)
The Turkish PM's statement comes amid the ongoing war of words between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Sunday, the Israeli prime minister called the Turkish president an "anti-Semitic dictator" who is "obsessed with Israel." Erdogan responded by describing Netanyahu as "the head of state terror."
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of attempting to partition Syria by using Kurdish forces in northern and eastern parts of the country.
"Netanyahu is worried because he discovered too late that he can't divide Syria", Cavusoglu said, claiming that Netanyahu planned to achieve this goal "with the help of the terrorists" from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), blacklisted by Ankara as a terrorist organisation.
"As you can see, Israel began to slander our president," Cavusoglu added.
He slammed the Israeli PM for "having sympathy towards [the] YPG", also arguing that "Netanyahu and the PKK have something else in common – they are both baby killers."
Cavusoglu's remarks follow Erdogan and Netanyahu trading accusations in their latest war of words.
In a tweet on Sunday, Netanyahu responded to Erdogan questioning the morality of "Jews in Israel" by branding the Turkish president an "anti-Semitic dictator" who is "obsessed with Israel."
Earlier, Erdogan claimed that Jews "kick" Palestinian women and children when "they fall in the ground". Netanyahu was quick to retaliate by describing the Turkish president as "the occupier of northern Cyprus, whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages."
The remarks followed Turkey and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) opposition forces launching Operation Olive Branch in the Syrian northern district of Afrin in January, with the objective of "clearing" the Turkey-Syria border from hostile Kurdish forces.
Tensions between Ankara and the Kurds escalated in July 2015 when a longstanding ceasefire with PKK collapsed over a series of terror attacks allegedly committed by members of the group.
Since April-May 2018, relations between Israel and Turkey hit a new low after they expelled each other's envoys following Erdogan and Netanyahu clashing over protests in the Gaza Strip and the US Embassy's relocation to Jerusalem.
Erdogan called Israel's actions in the border region a "genocide" and summoned the Turkish ambassadors to the US and Israel for consultations. In addition, the Turkish Foreign Ministry expelled Israeli Ambassador Eitan Naeh.
In retaliation, Israel asked the Turkish consul general in Jerusalem, Husnu Gurcan Turkoglu, who was tasked with establishing Ankara's ties with the Palestinians, to leave the country "for a while."
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