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Erdogan calls Israel 'terrorist', Netanyahu hits back

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By Natalie Huet  with Reuters, AP, AFP
Erdogan calls Israel 'terrorist', Netanyahu hits back

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against Israel on Sunday, labeling it a "terrorist state".

The Turkish leader, who has called a summit of Islamic countries in Istanbul on Wednesday (Dec. 13), pledged to do everything possible to reverse the United States' recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. He called the announcement "null".

"We won't leave Jerusalem to the mercy of a child-murdering country," Erdogan told a cheering crowd in central Turkey, accusing Israel of having no values other than "occupation and plunder."

Hours later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired back.

"I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran go around international sanctions and who helps terrorists including in Gaza, killing innocent people," Netanyahu told a news conference in Paris.

He was there meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of talks with European foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.

Demonstrations have been held across Turkey and the Middle East since Donald Trump's declaration on Jerusalem last week. An estimated 10,000 people rallied on Sunday in Istanbul to protest the move.