Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan complained to his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during a phone call on Tuesday about Western countries’ silence on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza in the wake of ongoing Israeli airstrikes, his office announced.
Erdoğan and Putin discussed the course of the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestine and the humanitarian crisis in the region during the call, Erdoğan’s office announced on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Erdoğan said the “brutality” in Palestinian territory is deepening and that civilian deaths are increasing with every passing minute.
Nearly 6,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign against the besieged enclave after an attack by Hamas inside Israel on Oct. 7, according to health officials in Gaza.
The attack by Hamas militants in Israel left at least 1,400 people dead.
Erdoğan said the silence of Western countries has brought the humanitarian crisis in Gaza to an unavoidable level while vowing to make every effort for de-escalation in the region.
Turkey accuses the Western countries of turning a blind eye to the tragedy in Gaza while they have been very vocal about the killing of civilians and destruction of infrastructure in Ukraine, where Russia has been waging a war since February 2022.
Thousands of buildings have been destroyed, and more than 1 million people displaced in Gaza, which has been under siege and largely deprived of water, food and other basic supplies.
President Erdoğan, one of the strongest supporters of the Palestinian cause who has in the past made vitriolic outbursts against Israel due to its attacks on Palestinians, is showing a relatively moderate reaction to Israeli actions in Gaza.
He avoids from making any statements in favor of Hamas and has called on both sides to avoid harming civilians, which many say is aimed at avoiding a fresh fallout with Israel.
Yet there is growing anger among Turks, who have been taking to the streets across the country or meeting in front of the Israeli Embassy in Ankara or consulate building in İstanbul to protest Israel.
Last week, Israel temporarily called back all its diplomats from Turkey over security concerns in the wake of widespread anti-Israeli protests and sentiment in the country.
The Hamas-Israeli conflict came at a time when Turkey was just normalizing its relations with Israel after years-long tension, with both sides announcing the full restoration of relations and the return of ambassadors to both countries last year.