Jerusalem: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used exceptionally harsh words to describe Israel’s offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, despite both countries enjoying good bilateral ties.
Speaking in Antalya following his Middle Eastern tour, Erdogan said Israel was perpetrating “inhumane actions” which would “bring it to destroy itself,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
“Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents,” Erdogan said.
His recent tour of the Middle East conspicuously skipped Israel, despite the good bilateral ties enjoyed by both countries.
Erdogan has over the past week visited Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as Turkey engaged in shuttle diplomacy with Arab countries in the search for a cease-fire in the Middle East.
The Turkish leader has made extremely critical comments about Operation Cast Lead since it began, and last Saturday characterized Israel’s aerial attacks in Gaza as a “crime against humanity.”
Israel has expressed its reservations to the Turks over these comments, with officials in Jerusalem saying it was not the way friendly countries talked about one another, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Still, the overall assessment in Jerusalem is that the operation and the tenor of Erdogan’s criticism will not have a lasting impact on Turkish-Israel relations, since strong ties are in the interest of both countries.