Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that his country is preparing to reveal to the world that Israel is a war criminal, as thousands rallied in solidarity with Palestinians at the "Great Palestine Rally" in Istanbul.
“As we will be shouting out to the whole world our joy of the 100th anniversary of our Republic tomorrow, we are speaking out our heartache for Gaza today,” Erdogan said, addressing the rally at the Ataturk Airport on Saturday afternoon.
Scenes from the airport showed people from different walks of life, carrying Turkish and Palestinian flags, with some wearing headbands with the inscription, "We are all Palestinians," "End the genocide, let the children live" and "Be the voice of Palestinian children."
"What was Gaza, Palestine in 1947? What is it today? Israel, how did you get here? How did you enter? You are an occupier, you are an organisation," Erdogan said, stressing that Türkiye intends to present Tel Aviv to the world as a war criminal.
A vile massacre is being carried out in Gaza, he stressed, once again asking how many innocent children, women and elderly must die before a ceasefire is declared.
Also criticising the West's unconditional support for Israel and the mobilisation of media to legitimise the massacre of innocent people in Gaza, Erdogan emphasised Türkiye's bold pro-Palestine stance in contrast, saying: "The West owes you (Israel), but Türkiye does not. That is why we speak without hesitation."
"The West's book of sins has once again overstepped its bounds," he added, emphasising that Israel could not commit such atrocities without Western backing.
Bugün İstanbul’da Filistin davasına sahip çıkan, Gazzeli mazlumlara umut olan aziz milletimin her bir ferdini tebrik ediyorum.
Tüm ülkeleri, Gazze’de çocuklar, kadınlar ve masum sivillerle birlikte enkaz altında kalan insanlığın ortak değerlerine sahip çıkmaya çağırıyoruz. 🇹🇷🇵🇸 pic.twitter.com/Vq9aZOW79e
— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 28, 2023
'Not a battle between equals'
Internationally renowned artist Yusuf Islam, also known as Cat Stevens, also addressed Saturday's pro-Palestine rally "to the bombing of innocent families, their homes, and especially the little children who make up half the number of those who have been killed”.
He thanked Türkiye for taking the "right stand” on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which has been reeling from relentless Israeli airstrikes for three weeks.
“This is not a battle between equals. If we look at the attack on October 7, comparing it to the scale of the vast military response, it is just beyond comparison,” Islam said.
He urged Israelis to recall the message of the Torah, saying: “Remember the original message God sent to you: ‘You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not seek your neighbour's property.’ These are the laws Moses taught the world. Why don’t you follow them?”
For the last three weeks, Israel has carried out a relentless campaign of air and artillery strikes on Palestine's Gaza, putting the city's residents under total siege, with a blockade of food, fuel and medical supplies.
At least 7,326 Palestinians have been killed in the attacks, some 70 percent of which are women and children, according to official figures.
On Friday, Israel dramatically ramped up its bombardment after knocking out internet and communication in besieged Gaza, largely cutting off the tiny Palestinian enclave's population from contact with each other and the outside world.
The United Nations General Assembly on Friday approved a resolution calling for a humanitarian truce, but Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called it “despicable” and rejected it.