US aircraft carrier’s arrival could lead to Gaza massacre: Erdogan

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticised the United States for moving a carrier strike group closer to Israel, warning that it would commit "serious massacres" in the Gaza Strip.

Following a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel on Saturday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Sunday that Washington will be moving a carrier strike group, which includes the USS Gerald R. Ford, closer to Israel.

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

Erdogan has previously stated that Turkey was ready to mediate between Israeli and Palestinian forces to ensure calm.

The conflict comes as Turkey, 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.

Erdogan has also condemned Israel’s move to cut off water to Gaza, stressing “Where are the human rights? You have no right to cut water under the declaration of human rights.”

“Can you think about the hospitals in Gaza?” he asked, adding, “But you hit hospitals and temples without any mercy. And no one says anything about it.”

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has announced a blockade of Gaza amid intense fighting between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas fighters.

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