Turkish PM: Israel Is the Main Threat to Mideast Peace

Erdogan says Israeli nuclear sites should not be exempt from international supervision.

Israel is the main threat to peace in the Middle East, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, in what appears to be the another in a string of verbal attacks aginst Israel in recent weeks.

Speaking to journalists in Paris, Erdogan said that it is impossible to praise a country that exerted such excessive force in Gaza, including the use of phosphorus weapons.

He also criticized Israel for not signing the nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, saying Israel should not be exempt from international supervision of its nuclear facilities.

Erdogan's latest statements came only four days after the Turkish PM addressed the recent heightened tension in Jerusalem, saying that Turkey would come to the defense of Muslims around the world, according to a report on CNN-Turk.

In that same speech, Erdogan also called the situation in Gaza inhumane.

"We cannot watch the murder of children in Gaza with indifference," he said.

In reponse to Erdogan's words on Sunday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Erdogan was attempting to integrate with the Muslim world at the expense of his country's ties with Israel.

Despite the tensions at the political level, defense ties between the two countries remain strong. A ceremony was held in Turkey on Wednesday to mark the completion of a project in which the Israeli defense contracting firm Elbit upgraded 170 tanks for the Turkish army, Channel 10 reported.

Ceremony attendees included the Turkish defense minister and other Turkish military officials. Israel was represented by director-general of the defense ministry Udi Shani and other Israeli defense industry officials.