Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned Israel on Monday for its three-day operation against the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.

“We have presented a clear stance against the attacks by Israeli security forces targeting Gaza and the civilians in Gaza in recent days,” said Erdoğan. “Killing children and babies still in cradles; there cannot be any excuse for this. Turkey stands with the people of Palestine and its brothers in Gaza.”

Erdoğan’s comments come against the backdrop of recent efforts to repair relations between the two countries, after ties frayed in the 2010s. In March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Turkey, with then-Foreign Minister Yair Lapid following suit in June. In May, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoğlu visited Israel.

Gallia Lindenstrauss, a specialist in Turkish foreign policy at the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), told JNS that Erdoğan’s remarks will likely not impact ongoing efforts at rapprochement.

“As the operation was short, and other elements of normalization, such as mutual trade and tourism, are going well, most likely this statement will not have a long-term effect on normalization,” she said. “Also, Erdoğan’s statement was not accompanied by any punitive actions, so that can also be a sign that the normalization process, while fragile, is still continuing.”

Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak, an expert on contemporary Turkish politics and foreign policy at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University, agreed, telling JNS: “I do not think that it will impact the rapprochement. Compared to his previous comments the latest one was quite predictable. I even see it as lip service to satisfy his own base.”

Israel’s “Operation Breaking Dawn” ended with an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire late on Sunday. According to figures released by the Israeli military, during the 66-hour conflict PIJ launched some 1,100 rockets at Israel, 200 of which fell inside the Gaza Strip.

There were 35 Palestinian casualties due to Israeli strikes, 11 of which were noncombatants, while 15 Palestinians were killed by PIJ rockets, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

JNS

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