Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday he was breaking off contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to Israel’s actions in Gaza, Agence France-Presse reported.
“Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to. We have written him off,” Turkish media quoted Erdoğan as saying.
Erdoğan’s remarks came a week after Israel said it was “re-evaluating” its relations with Ankara because of Turkey’s increasingly heated rhetoric about the Israel-Hamas war.
Israel had earlier withdrawn all diplomats from Turkey and other regional countries as a security precaution.
Israeli forces have encircled Gaza’s largest city, trying to crush Hamas in retaliation for Oct. 7 raids into Israel that officials say killed around 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took some 240 people hostage.
The health ministry in Gaza, which is run by Hamas, says more than 9,400 Gazans, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Israeli strikes and the intensifying ground campaign.
Erdoğan said Saturday that Turkey was not breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel.
“Completely severing ties is not possible, especially in international diplomacy,” Erdogan said.
He said intelligence agency chief İbrahim Kalın was spearheading Turkey’s efforts to try and mediate an end to the war.
“Ibrahim Kalin is talking to the Israeli side. Of course, he is also negotiating with Palestine and Hamas,” Erdoğan said.
But he said Netanyahu bore the primary responsibility for the violence and had “lost the support of his own citizens.”
“What he needs to do is take a step back and stop this,” Erdoğan said.