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Middle East

Turkish Prime Minister says Israel is 'more barbaric than Hitler'

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Israel's actions in Gaza had been "disproportionate" and would derail any efforts to try and foster better Turkish-Israeli relations

Turkey's Prime Minister has lambasted Israel's ground invasion of Gaza and accused the Israeli government of "barbarism that surpasses Hitler".

Speaking at a political rally in the city of Ordu as part of his re-election campaign, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "(Israelis) have no conscience, no honour, no pride. Those who condemn Hitler day and night have surpassed Hitler in barbarism."

Erdogun ,who has been a vocal opponent of Israel’s operations in the Gaza Strip, has said that the Israel Defence Forces' actions have been "disproportionate" and would derail any efforts to try and foster better Turkish-Israeli relations.

The comments align with the general mood of anger in Turkey at Israel's continued offensive in Gaza, which has so far seen over 350 Palestinians killed.

Over the past three nights Turkish protesters have hit the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey’s to largest cities, to rally against Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.

On Friday, violent protests broke out between hundreds of protesters and riot police as protesters tried to enter the Israeli Embassy in Istanbul.

According to one report, protesters tore down the Israeli flag and replaced it with a Palestinian one.

Following the rallies, Israel’s government decided to reduce its staff in Turkey due to safety concerns.

Despite the anti-Israeli sentiment, Erdogan did insist that any anger felt towards Israel should not be taken out on Turkey's Jewish community.

Video: Israel moves tanks into Gaza

He told supporters: "I don't approve of any (bad) attitude towards our Jewish citizens in Turkey, despite all this. Why? They are the citizens of this country,"

There has been growing hostility towards Turkey’s Jewish community as the number of dead Palestinians continues to climb.

On Friday U.S. representative Eliot Engel urged Erdogan to act after the same newspaper published an open letter calling on Turkish Jews to apologise for civilian casualties in Gaza.

The Isaraeli government subsequently sent out an official warning to its citizens advising them against travelling to Turkey while the mood remained hostile.