Turkish prime minister in Kuwait for security, business talks
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan arrived Monday in Kuwait for talks focussing on regional security concerns and greater economic ties with the Gulf state, DPA reported.
The Turkish premier was accompanied by around 500 delegates from his country's political and business community.
According to Kuwait's National Assembly speaker, Jassem al- Kharafi, greater cooperation between Arab states and Turkey is needed to meet common challenges.
Speaking at the opening of the two-day long Arab-Turkish Parliamentary Dialogue, al-Kharafi said that tighter relations with Turkey would enhance the region's security, stability, and prosperity, according to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
Al-Kharafi also slammed Israel for its "military nuclear arsenal," which he said greatly endangers the security of the region, KUNA reported. He also restated Arab calls for a nuclear-free Middle East.
Although it is widely believed that Israel has a nuclear arsenal, Israel has neither confirmed nor denied possessing nuclear weapons.
Murad Murjan, head of the Turkish delegation taking part in the talks, shared similar sentiments on Israel, saying that Tel Aviv's uncompromising policies were "annoying" to both the Arabs and Turks, according to KUNA.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained ever since Israeli forces killed nine Turkish citizens aboard a ship that was attempting to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip in May.
In mid-October, Turkey's foreign minister held meetings in Kuwait in a bid to strengthen ties with countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Kuwait is a member.
The GCC, which represents a political and economic union of six Gulf countries, signed a joint economic cooperation agreement with Turkey in 2005.
Turkey then became the first country outside the Gulf to be given the status of strategic partner of the GCC, in 2008.