Erdogan tells UN chief Israel must be tried in international courts for Gaza crimes

Turkish President Erdogan visits Germany

ANKARA (Reuters) -Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday told United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Israel must be held accountable in international courts for what he called war crimes it committed in Gaza, the Turkish presidency said.

Israel has mounted an offensive by air and ground against Hamas militants in Gaza in which more than 15,000 people have been killed, according to Gaza health authorities.

The offensive was launched after Hamas went on a rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people and taking 240 hostage.

In a phone call ahead of a U.N. Security Council meeting on Gaza planned for Wednesday, Erdogan and Guterres discussed the "expectations of the international community regarding Israel's unlawful attacks", access of humanitarian aid into the enclave, and efforts for a lasting peace, the Turkish presidency said.

"During the call, President Erdogan said Israel continues to shamelessly trample on international law, the laws of war, and international humanitarian law by looking in the eyes of the international community, and it must be held accountable for the crimes it committed in front of international law," it said in a statement.

Turkey's foreign ministry said Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan would attend the U.N. Security Council meeting in New York.

In a statement, it added that Fidan would hold also meet his counterparts as part of a so-called contact group of some Muslim countries, formed by the Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) this month to discuss Gaza with Western powers and others.

Turkey has harshly criticised Israel's attacks on Gaza and called for an immediate ceasefire to allow for discussions over a two-state solution to the wider Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Erdogan has called the Israeli attacks on Gaza a genocide and accused Israel of being a "teror state". Israel rejects such charges and say it is acting in self-defence against a foe bent on it destruction.

Turkey also hosts some members of Hamas, which it does not consider a terrorist group, unlike the United States, European Union, and some Gulf countries. It has accused the West, apart from Spain and Belgium, of complicity due to their support of Israel.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu;Editing by Alison Williams and Angus MacSwan)