ISTANBUL - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel on Sunday of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers and warned it would "drown in the blood it sheds", pulling foreign policy to centre stage as presidential race enters its final week.
Addressing hundreds of thousands of supporters at his biggest rally so far ahead of the Aug. 10 election, Erdogan again likened Israel's actions to those of Hitler that have already led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accuse him of anti-Semitism, as well as drawing rebuke from Washington.
"Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target," Erdogan told the sea of cheering supporters at an Istanbul arena.
"They kill women so that they will not give birth to Palestinians; they kill babies so that they won't grow up; they kill men so they can't defend their country. They will drown in the blood they shed," he said.
Pro-Palestinian sentiment runs high in mostly Sunni Muslim Turkey, and protesters have repeatedly taken to the streets in recent weeks to demonstrate against Israel's offensive in Gaza.
Over 50 million Turks are expected to vote next Sunday, electing their president directly for the first time.
Two polls last month put Erdogan on 55-56 per cent, a 20-point lead over the main opposition candidate, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.