Erdogan: Turkey Will Not Remain Silent if Israel Attacks Lebanon

Turkey PM warns Lebanese leaders that Israel may be planning an attack, calls on 5 permanent members of the UNSC to pressure Israel over its nuclear program.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Turkey would not remain silent if Israel attacked Lebanon or Gaza, French News Agency AFP reported.


"Does (Israel) think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?" Erdogan said at a conference in Lebanon organized by the Union of Arab Banks.

"Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent?," AFP reported Erdogan as saying. "We will not be silent and we will support justice by all means available to us."

Until recently, Turkey had been one of Israel's most reliable allies in the Muslim world. However, Ankara has taken a stance against Israel over Operation Cast Lead, leading to a deterioration of ties.

Earlier this week, Erdogan warned Lebanese leaders in Ankara that Israel may be planning an attack from its northern border.

In a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and President Michel Suleiman on Monday, Erdogan declared that Israel was endangering world peace by using exaggerated force against the Palestinians, breaching Lebanon's air space and waters and for not revealing the details of its nuclear program.

Erdogan called on the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council to pressure Israel over its nuclear program in the same way that the international community has been dealing with Iran.

Last week, Erdogan confirmed Turkey had received an official apology from Israel over what the Turkish ambassador termed "humiliating" treatment by Ayalon, saying that it was "the expected and desired response."

Erdogan added more criticism of Israel, telling a news conference: "Israel must put itself in order and it must be more just and more on the side of peace in the region."