According to Agence France-Presse, Turkey rejected as “absolutely unacceptable” US accusations that President Recep Tayyip Erdoan made anti-Semitic remarks in his criticism of Israeli strikes in Gaza.
“The US statement about our President Erdoğan’s remarks on the Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians is absolutely unacceptable,” Erdoğan’s press aide Fahrettin Altun tweeted on Wednesday.
The relationship between NATO allies Turkey and the United States could become further exacerbated by recent tensions.
The US State Department on Tuesday sharply criticized Erdoğan for what it called anti-Semitic remarks, urging him and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary comments, “which could incite further violence.”
“The United States strongly condemns President Erdoğan’s recent anti-Semitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
During his 18-year rule, Erdoğan defended the Palestinian cause.
He has accused Israel of “terrorism” against the Palestinians.
He called them “assassins, to the point of killing kids,” earlier this week.
Erdoğan weighed in later Wednesday, defending his comments and vowing to “cry in the highest volume wherever we see cruelty.”
“If a price is to be paid to … speak up for the innocent, we will never hesitate to pay it,” he said in a televised speech.
Before the latest row, Erdoğan had spent the past few months trying to repair relations with Washington and reaching out to other Western allies after a year of sharp disputes.