Turkish PM: Israel main threat to Mideast peace
In Paris, Erdogan once again addresses Israel's Gaza offensive, says, 'If a country uses disproportionate force in Palestine, using phosphorous bombs, we do not congratulate them on their actions'; Ankara says Lieberman 'continues to disregard the rules of diplomacy'
Israel currently represents ''the main threat to regional peace," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday during a visit to Paris.
Speaking to reporters in the French capital, Erdogan once again addressed Israel's military offensive in Gaza, which was carried out between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009. ''If a country uses disproportionate force in Palestine, in Gaza, using phosphorous bombs, we do not congratulate them on their actions. Instead we ask them why they have acted in such a way,'' he said. '
"An attack killed 1,500 people and the reasons given for it were lies. Goldstone is Jewish and his report is clear,'' he said, referring to the UN-commissioned report by South African judge Richard Goldstone, who accused Israel, as well as some Palestinian groups, of committing war crimes during the conflict in Gaza.
''It is not because we are Muslims that we have this attitude,'' Erdogan continued to say, ''Our attitude is a humanitarian one''.
Meanwhile, Ankara condemned Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's recent comment, according to which Erdogan is "slowly turning into (Libyan leader Muammar) Gaddafi or (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez."
According to Lieberman, "It's his choice. The problem is not Turkey, the problem is Erdogan."
The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said, "We vehemently condemn and reject the baseless, deplorable and over-the-top statements ... by Avigdor Lieberman (that) were carried on Israeli media about our prime minister.
"The statement in question shows that Lieberman continues to disregard the rules of diplomacy governing international relations," the statement said. "We call on Israel to give up this incomprehensible and unacceptable approach as soon as possible and to act with good sense."
On Monday Erdogan said, "We cannot stand idly by as children are being murdered in Gaza. It's inhuman.
"We cannot be complacent at the face of the Muslim world's problems in Jerusalem. Our goal is integration with the Western world, but we have not turned our backs on the East either. Arabs and Turks are brothers and we share the same values," he said during an Arab TV and radio station launch.