Turkey’s Erdogan criticises U.S. crackdown on college protests By Reuters


ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waded into the debate over U.S. college campus protests on Thursday, saying authorities were displaying “cruelty” in clamping down on pro-Palestinian students and academics.

Demonstrations have spread on campuses across the United States over Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza, prompting police crackdowns and arrests at some venues such as Columbia University in New York.

“Conscientious students and academics including anti-Zionist Jews at some prestigious American universities are protesting the massacre (in Gaza),” Erdogan told an event in Ankara.

“These people are being subjected to violence, cruelty, suffering, and even torture for saying the massacre has to stop,” he said, adding that university staff were being “sacked and lynched” for supporting the Palestinians.

Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, has sharply criticised Israel’s assault on Gaza and what it calls the unconditional support it receives from Western countries.

The U.S. is a top supplier of military aid to Israel and has shielded the country from critical United Nations votes.

“The limits of Western democracy are drawn by Israel’s interests,” Erdogan said. “Whatever infringes on Israel’s interests is anti-democratic, antisemitic for them.”

More than 34,000 people have been killed in Gaza during Israel’s nearly seven-month military offensive, Palestinian health officials say, after Hamas militants killed some 1,200 people and took 253 hostages during an Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel, according to Israeli tallies.

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