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Turkey's Erdogan thanks Spain for Gaza stance

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Turkey's Erdogan thanks Spain for Gaza stance
Spanish Prime minister Pedro Sánchez (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walk together after reviewing the troops at La Moncloa Palace in Madrid on June 13, 2024. (Photo by Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday hailed Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for his stance on the Gaza war which has seen the Spanish leader emerging as an outspoken critic of Israel.

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"Mr Sánchez has pursued a principled and consistent policy from day one (of the war) and has a special place in the hearts of the entire Turkish nation," Erdogan said, hailing the Spanish leader for his approach to the ongoing conflict.

"In the name of my people, I congratulate" Sánchez for his attitude, he said on an official visit to Spain as the two leaders opened an economic forum in Madrid.

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Erdogan, who has taken a very strong stance in support of the Palestinians and Gaza's Hamas leader, once again accused Israel of committing "genocide" in the tiny territory which "hurts everyone with a conscience".

"We are faced with an (Israeli) arrogance that responds even to ceasefire calls with bloodshed," he said.

Since the war began on October 7th, Spain has emerged as one of Israel's strongest critics within the European Union.

READ MORE: Why is Spain so pro-Palestine?

The Gaza war began with Hamas's unprecedented October 7th attack on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

The militants also seized 251 hostages. Of these, 116 remain in Gaza although the army says 41 of them are dead.

Israel in response has carried out a military offensive in Gaza that has left at least 37,232 people dead, also mostly civilians, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory.

On May 28th, Spain formally recognised Palestinian statehood in a coordinated move with Ireland and Norway, in a decision slammed by Israel as a "reward" for Hamas.

And last week, Madrid said it would join South Africa's case at the International Court of Justice, the UN's top court, in which Pretoria has accused Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza.

"Turkey is a key economic partner for Spain and a key player in the geostrategic context," said Sánchez, describing Spain as "Turkey's best ally in Europe".

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