Turkey needs to know they cannot continue to kick Israel, and Israel will come back and ask for more, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said Thursday in reaction to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s fanning the flames surrounding tensions on the Temple Mount.
“The time has come to stop ingratiating ourselves to the Turks, who every time come and kick us harder,” he told journalists during a briefing in Tel Aviv.
“We need to say, ‘Okay, we understand.’ Now we have to run our own policy: From now on we support the establishment of an independent Kurdish state; we need to recognize the Armenian genocide; we need to do all the things that we didn’t do when we had good relations with Turkey – because we don’t – and we will not have in the future,” he said.
He also said that Israel needs to give up the idea of a gas pipeline to Turkey.
“Israel cannot allow itself to be dependent on a consumer which has for all intents and purposes turned into a hostile or semi-hostile state,” he said.
The Yesh Atid leader stopped short, however, of calling for closure of the embassy in Ankara and a break in diplomatic ties, saying that Israel needed in any event to work with less friendly countries.
“But,” he said, “the Turks have to know that they can’t always kick us, and we come back and ask for more.”
Erdogan, over the last two days, has made a number of inflammatory comments relating to the Temple Mount crisis, including calling on the Muslim world to “defend” al-Aksa and saying that IDF soldiers were “dirtying” the site with their boots.
“By relying on its backers and the weapons at its disposal, Israel is making a mistake,” Erdogan said on Tuesday.
“I call on all Muslims around the world to go on a pilgrimage to al-Aksa, to Palestine – if they are able to – or find a way and help our brothers therein if they’re unable to travel. The more we defend al-Aksa, the fiercer the resistance will be. If Israeli soldiers are dirtying al-Aksa with their boots, the reason is we fail to defend it decently. Let’s defend Palestine just as we defend Mecca and Medina.”