Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Following his stormy exit from Mahmoud Abbas' UN speech last week, on Monday Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was in a more festive mood, toasting the Jewish New Year with the Yisrael Beiteinu party members. Lieberman used the opportunity to express harsh criticism against Abbas and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"Anyone who saw CNN yesterday saw Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan once again verbally attack the State of Israel," said Lieberman. "We have no problems with Turkey who, for years was a friendly country, we were partners and cooperated in a number of fields including defense and economy.
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"We certainly respect the Turkish nation and turkey as a state, our problem is first and foremost with the current Turkish leadership – the radical and extremist Islamist leadership that supports and nurtures terror," he said.
The foreign minister added: "It is no coincidence that Erdogan supports Hamas – it is a terror group with all that implies. The IHH is also on the terror list. It is a troubling phenomenon that every person calling for freedom of expression needs to see – 57 journalists are currently sitting in Turkish prisons.
Lieberman: I'd let them talk all day (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
"In Iran there are only 34… There is no other country with that large a number of journalists in prison. There are currently 1,000 trials and investigations pending against journalists in Turkey," he noted.
Lieberman said that Erdogan's appearance on CNN Sunday was "excellent" for Israel. "If you ask what we can do PR wise, I'd buy each and every media outlet and let Erdogan speak all day and all night. Every time he speaks on TV he brings more support for the State of Israel.
"Today no one has any illusions about the man. I'd let the whole 'crew' make an appearance -- Erdogan, Ahmadinejad, Raad Salah, Ibrahim Sarsour. They are doing a wonderful job, there is nothing to add."
Speaking at the event, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said that during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's UN speech last week he heard Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's vision.
"Our neighborhood is unusual, it's complicated," Misezhnikov said. "The formula is that the strongest survives. I keep hearing more and more, even among reporters and commentators, that population and land exchanges are the winning formula, and the person who first conceived the idea was party chairman Lieberman."
Speaking of Abbas' speech, Lieberman called it a "seditious speech," adding: "Three times he (Abbas) mentioned Arafat. He spoke of political prisoners, apparently the Fogel family murderers are also political prisoners."
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