Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned an Israeli decision to approve hundreds of new housing units in east Jerusalem, Turkish news agencies reported Friday.
In a meeting with his party, the Justice and Development Party (AK), Erdogan said ties between Israel and Turkey would not return to normal until the removal of the siege on the Gaza Strip.
Erdogan added that the decision to approve 1,600 new homes in Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood was "unacceptable", and proves Israel "wants to erase the Palestinians step by step".
He called on Israel to halt all settlement activity and allow worshippers into Temple Mount immediately. "The steps taken by Israel can harm regional stability," Erdogan added.
Tensions have been mounting between Jerusalem and Ankara since Operation Cast Lead last year, and Turkey has criticized Israel severely for its actions in the Gaza Strip.
Despite this, Turkey's ambassador to Israel was optimistic last week, and told MKs "developments" would take place soon in the relations between the two countries.