Turkey has slammed as "racist" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial pledge to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank if he is re-elected in September 17 polls.
"The election promise of Netanyahu, who is giving all kind of illegal, unlawful and aggressive messages before the election, is a racist apartheid state," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu wrote on his official Twitter account in both English and Turkis on Tuesday.
"Will defend rights and interests of our Palestinian brothers&sisters till the end," he added.
The Turkish government regards itself as a champion of the Palestinian cause and has never shied away from criticism of Israel. Netanyahu issued the deeply controversial pledge as he gears up for elections on September 17. He also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank if re-elected.
Palestinians immediately reacted to Netanyahu's statement by saying he was destroying any hopes for peace, while his electoral opponents accused him of a cynical play for right-wing nationalist votes with polls only a week away.