Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, during a rally in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. Erdogan has laid in to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling him a "thief" and a "tyrant" in the latest spat between the two leaders.(Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

Erdogan calls Netanyahu 'thief' and 'tyrant' in latest spat

March 13, 2019 - 8:33 am

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "thief" and a "tyrant" in the latest spat between the two leaders.

The dispute comes after Erdogan's spokesman denounced Netanyahu as a racist for saying that Israel was the nation-state of the Jewish people only. Netanyahu then struck back calling Erdogan a dictator and criticizing the country for imprisoning journalists.

Speaking at an election campaign rally on Wednesday, Erdogan addressed Netanyahu as "the thief who heads Israel" in reference to corruption allegations against him.

Erdogan continued: "you are a tyrant. You are a tyrant who slaughters 7-year-old Palestinian kids."

Israel and Turkey were once close allies. But under Erdogan, Turkey has become the most vocal critic of Israel's policies toward Palestinians.

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