US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, said Turkey is becoming “The Squad” of NATO after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared Israel a “war criminal” in its fight against the militant Palestinian group Hamas, Fox news reported.
The senator made the comment Saturday in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Seems that Turkey, particularly senior leadership, is setting itself up to be ‘The Squad’ of NATO,” Graham wrote. “Very disappointing and destabilizing.”
“The Squad” refers to the informal name of a group of progressive Democrat US House members, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamal Bowman of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
Some of these “Squad” members have been openly critical of Israel’s government since Hamas launched its surprise attack on the country on Oct. 7, which left 1,400 people dead.
For instance, Tlaib, the first woman of Palestinian descent to be elected to Congress who has a well-documented history of anti-Israel comments, said in a statement the day after Hamas’s attack began, “As long as our country provides billions in unconditional funding to support the apartheid government, this heartbreaking cycle of violence will continue.”
Other “Squad” members have also made anti-Israel statements.
Graham’s post linked to a Fox News Digital report about the recent comments from Erdoğan condemning Israel as a war criminal for its retaliation against Hamas.
“Israel has been openly committing war crimes for 22 days, but the Western leaders cannot even call on Israel for a ceasefire, let alone react to it,” Erdoğan told a pro-Palestine rally in İstanbul on Saturday.
“We will tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal. We are making preparations for this. We will declare Israel a war criminal,” he said.
The Turkish leader has been a leading international supporter of Palestinian rights during his two-decade rule.
He took a more cautious line in the first days after Hamas militants staged the surprise attack on Oct. 7.
But he has become much more vocal as the reported death toll from Israel’s military response has grown.
The Gaza Health Ministry said the death toll among Palestinians has passed 8,000, mostly women and minors.
In a move that attracted harsh criticism from Israel and some Western capitals, Erdoğan said last week that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, describing its militants as “liberators” fighting for their land and people.