Erdogan, not giving up on EU
Photo: AFP

Erdogan warns against Israeli strike in Iran

Turkish prime minister says pre-emptive strike on Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities would lead to 'disaster in entire region, would have unforeseeable consequences I would not even want to imagine'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of an Israeli strike in Iran, saying it would lead to a "disaster in the entire region."


In an interview to Spanish newspaper El Pais published on Monday, the Turkish PM responded to a question on the results of a pre-emptive Israeli strike in the Islamic Republic saying, "this would have unforeseeable consequences that I would not even want to imagine."


He stressed that the dispute between the West and Iran over the latter's nuclear program must be resolved through diplomatic channels, and added that economic sanctions would also have an impact on the entire region.


"Don't leave the negotiations table until the end of the process," he said. In the past, Turkey has offered to mediate in talks, but the Iranians objected.


'Not losing hope on joining EU'

Meanwhile, the prime minister also criticized the obstacles France and Germany are placing in the way of bringing Turkey into the European Union "when there are five million Turkish citizens in Europe."


He said, "We are not losing hope, but what they are trying to do is wrong. Germany and France want to change the rules and place conditions beyond the European standards."


Tensions between Turkey and Israel peaked some two months ago following the humiliation of the Turkish ambassador in Israel by Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon in a reprimand meeting.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed support of the Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and said Turkey was inching closer to Iran, and that he found this disconcerting. He added that the process had begun before Operation Cast Lead, and that according to state officials Ankara was deepening ties with Muslim countries because it had not yet been accepted to the European Union.


"There are three strong countries in the Middle East that are not Arab," he said. "Israel has always been rooted in the West. Iran was once Western but is currently the leader of radical Islam. The third is Turkey, which used to be close to the West but in recent years has begun to look eastward, towards Iran, and that is why its systematic glide east should worry us."


פרסום ראשון: 02.22.10, 12:22
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