WASHINGTON -Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Israeli government is made up of a "three-headed coalition with different voices" and added that this is disrupting the peace process. In an interview with CNN, Erdogan said, "I would like to see Israel contribute to peace and the current government in Israel is not doing its part."
He went on to say, "When they speak, it is not a symphony, but a cacophony. We need to be certain that it is a symphony. If there is no harmonious symphony, then we cannot hear the voices of peace."
The Turkish PM emphasized, "I have no problem with the Israeli people. The problem is with the government. There are Jews in my country and I do not have a problem with them. They are happy with me and I am happy with them."
He accused the Israeli government of, "several negative remarks about Turkey and about Jerusalem. When Interior Minister Eli Yishai says it will be their capital, this certainly has an influence on Turkey, since 99% of its residents are Muslim. This has an impact on 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, because Jerusalem has been a very important place to the Muslims throughout history."
The interviewer, Christiane Amanpour, cited Israeli and Turkish sources who said ties between the two countries could not be salvaged. An agitated Erdogan responded saying, "I don't know who put it that way, but all the nations of the world need each other. The degree in which one needs the other may vary. We are not the enemies of anyone in the region."
Erdogan was asked about comments that were attributed to him, according to which Israel is the biggest threat
to Middle East peace. "This is not the way I spoke. We must be certain that we understand what we are saying. I am looking for a contribution to peace. I want Israel to make a contribution to peace."
The Turkish PM reiterated his opinion that Israel should sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. "I have raised this issue several times, and I am talking about it today, and I will talk about it tomorrow. If we are going to employ a policy of justice in order to achieve peace, we must talk about these matters and every country must handle this issue in a fair manner. Iran cannot be the only country on the agenda, just like Israel cannot be the only country on the agenda."