Turkey will continue its efforts against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has never been “any friend of ours,” the nation’s president said Wednesday.
Speaking at an event in the capital Ankara to mark May 19 Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day, Recep Tayyip Erdogan recounted his 2009 public scolding of Israel’s then-President Shimon Peres, an incident which was captured on video and brought Erdogan greater international prominence.
At that year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Erdogan walked off stage after criticizing Peres over Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, just as he blasts Israel’s current attacks on Palestinians in Gaza, launched by Netanyahu.
As of Wednesday at least 227 Palestinians have been killed, including 64 children and 38 women, in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since May 10, according to the Gaza-based Health Ministry.
Erdogan said that Turkey’s support to its Palestinian “brothers and sisters” on both humanitarian aid and other issues will continue.
Speaking to young people at the National Presidential Library, Erdogan hinted at “good news” on oil and natural gas coming from the Eastern Mediterranean, harking back to a similar announcement of a Black Sea gas find in August 2019.
Erdogan also said that on a July 20 visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), he will give “essential messages” to the whole world.
“If you cannot put forward this determination, this stance, nobody will square accounts with you,” he said.
Erdogan said Northern Cyprus has two airports now, adding that one of them mostly plays host to Turkey’s unmanned aerial vehicles and armed drones.
“We need to be strong against any attack that may occur in the region. In order to be strong, you should be fully present in the air and on land and at sea,” he said.
– Success against COVID-19
On efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, Erdogan said Turkey has one of the world’s leading vaccination campaigns.
Nearly 27 million vaccinations were done so far, including some 11.5 million second doses, he said.
Erdogan said that a wide range of COVID-19 measures have been taken to ensure a safe tourism season.
Now, he said, Turkey is looking to see “how do we get tourists to our country as soon as possible. For this, we’re in talks with many European countries, we say ‘open your doors as soon as possible, let’s open our doors’.”
Pointing to recent sharp drops in new cases in Turkey, Erdogan said reducing the daily cases below 10,000 is the result of the country’s “determined steps.”
“Now the goal is to bring them down to 5,000,” he added.
Source: Anadolu Agency