Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had harsh words for Israel during a call with his Russian counterpart Wednesday.

Erdogan told Putin that the international community should “give Israel a strong and deterrent lesson” over its conduct towards the Palestinians.

His comments come amid amid escalating violence in occupied East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan also said he thinks Russia will agree with Turkey at the United Nations on the issue, according to Turkey’s official Anadolu Agency.

Israel and the Palestinian territories are engulfed in an intense conflict. Hamas in Gaza and the Israel Defense Forces have both struck each other’s territory, leading to dozens of deaths. There is also violence between Jews and Arabs in Israeli cities and clashes in Jerusalem, where the unrest began.

Erdogan had late last year expressed a desire to see relations between Turkey and Israel improve, after years of disagreement over Tel Aviv’s occupation of the West Bank and its treatment of Palestinians.

Turkey, which in 1949 became the first Muslim-majority country to recognise Israel, first broke off ties with Israel in 2010.

The latest violence has hurt Turkey’s recent efforts to mend ties with Israel. Turkey is one of the few but growing number of countries in the region to recognize Israel, though relations have soured in recent years in part due to Turkey’s friendly relationship with Hamas.


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