A tweet from Turkish Deputy Education Minister Nazif Yılmaz on X has caused an international stir as he threatened Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the latter recently posted a video on social media of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, saying, “One day they will shoot you, too. You will die.”
The tweet came after a significant escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. On Saturday Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, firing thousands of rockets from Gaza and crossing the border with hundreds of militants. The Islamist group killed more than 1,200 Israelis, leading Israel to retaliate by striking targets in Gaza. Netanyahu had shared footage of the airstrikes, stating, “We carry on with all our might.”
Yılmaz later deleted his tweet, but not before it garnered international attention. The deputy minister’s comments come at a time when Turkey and Israel have been working to repair ties. Last month Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Netanyahu in New York, marking the first known meeting between the two leaders. Netanyahu was also set to visit Turkey in the coming months.
While Erdoğan and the Turkish government initially used conciliatory language regarding the conflict, calling for restraint and offering to play a role in a possible ceasefire, Yılmaz’s tweet seems to signal a different stance. Turkish opposition parties have generally declared their support for Palestinians, with a joint rally planned in İstanbul on Oct. 15 to show solidarity.