Nationalist opposition leader urges refugees in Turkey to go to Gaza to fight Israelis

İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener AFP

Meral Akşener, leader of the nationalist İYİ (Good) Party, has called on all the refugees in Turkey, especially Syrians, to go to Gaza and fight against the Israelis, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Gazete Duvar news website.

Akşener said at a party meeting on Wednesday that refugees, especially the Syrians who fled the civil war in their country and took refuge in Turkey, could at least go to Gaza and “shoot the Israelis.”

The İYİ leader added that she would cover the cost of the first few cars needed for their trip to Gaza out of her own pocket.

“I’m sure you would each provide a car, too,” Akşener told members of her party.

Akşener, like her election ally Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), vowed before the elections in May to send the refugees back to Syria by Sept. 1, 2026 if İYİ comes to power. She said all the measures to be taken by her party on its first day in office were ready.

She also said she was prepared to travel to Syria to meet with President Bashar al-Assad to ensure the return of the Syrian refugees if Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not want to engage in dialogue with Assad.

Turkey is today home to more than 3.4 million Syrian refugees who fled after civil war broke out in 2011 in its southern neighbor.

The rising anti-refugee sentiment in the country frequently turns into acts of discrimination and physical attacks against refugees and their properties.

Akşener’s call to Syrian refugees to go to Gaza to fight is seen as yet another hate crime against the refugees in the country.

On Saturday Hamas fighters had carried out an unprecedented surprise attack on Israel, launching thousands of rockets from the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, and crossing the border with hundreds of militants. Hamas killed at least 1,200 Israelis and abducted dozens, prompting Israel to retaliate by pounding Gaza.

Hours after the attack, Israel Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said the country was at war. The Israeli military said it had called up an unprecedented 300,000 reservists and was imposing a total blockade of the Gaza Strip, signs it could be planning a ground assault there to defeat Hamas.

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