Report: Turkey warns Lebanon that Israel may be planning attack
Haaretz (Link) (January 14, 2010)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week warned Lebanese leaders that Israel may be planning an attack on its northern neighbor, Lebanese sources told the London-based Arabic language daily A-Sharq al-Awsat on Thursday.
At a meeting in Ankara 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.
"Israel never denied that it has nuclear weapons," said Erdogan. "In fact, it has admitted to such."
"Those who are cautioning Iran must also caution Israel," Erdogan declared. "If we fail to display a fair attitude in this region, the problems will hit not only the region, but will spread elsewhere as well. The unrest of the Middle East is the unrest of the world."
Until recently, Turkey had been a solid ally of Israel's from the Muslim world. However, Ankara has taken a stance against Israel over last year's war in the Gaza Strip, leading to a deterioration of ties.
Erdogan made his comments on Monday after Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon summoned the Turkish ambassador in Israel for clarification regarding a recent television drama depicting actors dressed as Shin Bet officers who kidnap babies.
During the meeting, Turkey's ambassador was seated in a low sofa, and facing him, in higher chairs, were Ayalon and two other officials - an arrangement carried out at Lieberman's orders.
A photo-op was held at the start of the meeting, during which Ayalon told the photographers in Hebrew: "Pay attention that he is sitting in a lower chair and we are in the higher ones, that there is only an Israeli flag on the table and that we are not smiling."
On Thursday, 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.