Turkey PM: Israel a Nuclear Threat to Middle East

Erdogan's comment, another sign of deteriorating Israel-Turkey ties, comes during trip to South Africa.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Israel is a threat to the Middle East region for having a nuclear weapon.

Erdogan spoke during a trip to South Africa. His comments were carried by Turkey's Anatolia news agency.

Erdogan - AP - 21072011

Israel refuses to confirm whether it has a nuclear weapon, following a policy it terms "nuclear ambiguity," but it is widely considered to be the Middle East's only nuclear power.

Israeli-Turkish ties have deteriorated over Israel's refusal to apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish activists in a raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship last year, prompting Turkey to downgrade relations.

Israel says its troops acted in self-defense.

Erdogan recently told TIME magazine that sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Israel would have resolved the issue of Mideast peace long ago, adding that he felt the Quartet on the Middle East was not genuinely seeking to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.