Erdogan says Biden, U.S. complicit in alleged Israeli war crimes

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the NATO summit in Vilnius

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration are complicit in what he called Israeli war crimes and violations of international law in the Gaza conflict, and he called for sanctions against Israel.

In an interview with Newsweek during the NATO summit in Washington, Erdogan said Israel's "brutal murder" of civilians, its strikes on hospitals, aid centres and elsewhere constituted war crimes.

"The U.S. administration, however, disregards these violations and provides Israel with the most support. They do so at the expense of being complicit in these violations," Erdogan was quoted as saying.

"At this juncture, who will impose what kind of sanction against Israel for violating international law? That is the real question and no one is answering that," he said.

Israeli consistently rejects charges that it has committed war crimes in its battle against the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It denies deliberately targeting civilians.

More than 38,000 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, have been killed since the war broke out on Oct. 7, according to Gaza medical authorities. About 1,200 Israelis were killed in the cross-border Hamas raid that triggered the war.

NATO member Turkey has denounced Israel's assault on Gaza, halted trade with it, and voiced support for Hamas. It has repeatedly criticised Western countries for backing Israel and called for Israel to be punished by international courts.

Asked about Turkey's cordial ties with Russia and China, and Ankara's recent contacts with the BRICS group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Erdogan said Turkey carried out its diplomacy with a "win-win" approach and therefore could not rule out engaging with non-Western entities.

"We are an unwavering NATO ally. However, we do not believe that this impedes our ability to establish positive relationships with nations such as China and Russia," Erdogan told Newsweek.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Angus MacSwan)