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US move of aircraft carrier closer to Israel will lead to Gaza massacre - Erdogan

October 11, 2023 at 3:04 pm

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkiye on October 09, 2023 [Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency]

Turkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticised the United States yesterday for moving an aircraft carrier strike group closer to Israel, saying that it would lead to “serious massacres” in Gaza, Reuters has reported.

Following a surprise attack by Hamas fighters on Israel last Saturday, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the move of the strike group, which includes the USS Gerald R. Ford.

“What will the US aircraft carrier do near Israel, why is it going there? What will the rest of the strike group around it, and aircraft on board do? They will hit Gaza, and take steps for serious massacres there,” said Erdogan in a joint press conference with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Ankara.

READ: Turkiye calls on Israelis, Palestinians to act with restraint

The Turkish president has previously said that his country is ready to mediate between Israeli and Palestinian forces.

The conflict comes as Turkiye — which has backed Palestinians in the past, hosted members of Hamas, and supported a two-state solution to the conflict — works to repair ties with Israel after years of animosity.

READ: Erdogan: Cannot only blame Hamas for the Gaza escalation