Israel-Turkey relations go south as PM compares Netanyahu to Hamas

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Tensions between Israel and Turkey escalated this week when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan compared incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's approach to the peace process to that of Hamas.

In an interview with London's Guardian newspaper, Erdogan said that he cannot be expected to continue pushing Hamas to accept Israel's existence when Netanyahu doesn't accept the creation of a Palestinian state.

Said Erdogan: "Is Israel right now accepting Palestine? They are still not accepting them. But it is being expected of the Palestinian people to accept Israel. Now go and ask Mr. Netanyahu if he is accepting Palestine."

Netanyahu has suggested that he will put the creation of a Palestinian Arab state on the back burner, since no leader has risen that is capable of or willing to fulfill commitments to Israel, and instead focus on bettering the lives of average Palestinians through economic growth.

Relations between Israel and Turkey, which were traditionally very strong, took a turn for the worse last month when Erdogan made himself the most outspoken international critic of Israel's military offensive against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

Erdogan even clashed personally with Israeli President Shimon Peres at a conference in Europe during the Gaza war.

In a sign that the friction is trickling down to the general public, Turkish television on Tuesday began airing a miniseries that focuses on Israel's alleged role in spreading prostitution and drugs in Turkey.

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