Turkey's Erdogan: Israeli Strike on Iran Would Devastate Mideast

Speaking on his return from a Tehran visit, Turkish Prime Minister criticizes world for keeping mum on reported Israeli nuclear warheads while sanctioning Iran for a peaceful program.

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Haaretz
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Haaretz

An Israeli strike against Iran would have "disastrous" consequences, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Saturday, adding the world remains silent on Israel's reported nuclear armament while threatening Iran over its peaceful program.

The comments, made to reporters while making the journey back from an official visit to Iran, came after on Wednesday the Turkish PM said that “no one has the right to impose anything on anyone with regards to nuclear energy, provided that it is for peaceful purposes."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right. Credit: AP

“Everyone with commonsense opposes nuclear weapons,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Erdogan was quoted by the Turkish daily Hurriyet as warning against the "disastrous" outcome of a possible Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, saying: "The entire region would be devastated if Israel strikes Iran."

The Turkish premier, who indicated he shared his concerns regarding the consequences of an Israeli attack with U.S. President Barack Obama, said that a regional war triggered by such a move "would not end up like the war between U.S. and Iraq. Israel should not attack Iran."

Erdogan also criticized the international community for keeping mum on Israel's alleged nuclear weapons, while threatening Iran over what he said was a peaceful nuclear program.

"Israel has between 250 to 300 nuclear warheads. Nobody is discussing that," Erdogan said, adding: "Iran says they would not produce nuclear weapons. They are saying that they would produce a specific amount of enriched uranium rods and stop after that."

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that Iran expects to reopen talks with world powers that could defuse mounting tensions over its disputed nuclear program on April 13.

Turkey has offered to host the talks and the location will be decided in the next few days, Salehi said.

The major nations are keen to get Iran to enter talks on curbing its uranium enrichment program, which the West suspects is aimed at developing a nuclear weapons capability but Tehran says is peaceful.

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