Erdogan: Israel's Mentality Is a Barrier to Mideast Peace

Turkish PM, speaking before Arab League meeting in Cairo, attacks Israeli government's policies, says recognition of Palestinian state is 'an obligation.'

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo on Tuesday that the mentality of the Israeli government serves as an obstacle to peace in the Middle East, and stressed the need for recognition of a Palestinian state.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a tour on the Egyptian border that "eventually common sense and logic prevail, both on our side and on the other side."

Palestinian schoolboys hold a poster of Turkey's then-Prime Minister, now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a rally at Gaza Seaport calling on Erdogan to visit Gaza. September 13, 2011Credit: AP

"The barrier to peace in the region is the mentality of the Israeli government," Erdogan said. "The people in Israel are under a blockade (by its government)."

He insisted that Turkey will not return to normal relations with Israel until it apologizes for the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, compensates the families of the victims, and lifts the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Without directly mentioning Israel, Erdogan added that "every country must pay for the terror acts it carries out."

Erdogan also stressed that Turkey believes no country is above international law. "Turkey will take every possible step to ensure the freedom of movement in the eastern Mediterranean."

Moreover, the Turkish premier emphasized that the recognition of a Palestinian state was "not an option but an obligation."

The Turkish prime minister was visiting Egypt at the start of a North African tour aimed at cementing Turkey's standing in the region following the "Arab Spring" uprisings.

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