Erdogan supports Palestinian statehood, attacks Israel
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated criticism of Israel on Tuesday and expressed his support for Palestinian statehood.
"Palestinians must announce their independent state. This is not a choice, it's a necessity," Erdogan said addressing Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cair, reported dpa.
"We should be one hand with the Palestinians. The Palestinian flag must be raised at the United Nations," he told a meeting of the 22-member Arab League.
He said that the Palestinian flag would be "a symbol of justice and peace in the Middle East."
The Arab League meeting precedes the forthcoming session at the United Nations, where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will request UN membership from the General Assembly.
Erdogan said that the current status quo can be no longer maintained as he reiterated his criticism of Israel.
He said Israel continued taking "irresponsible steps that undermine its own legitimacy."
Turkey downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel and froze military and trade ties over last year's killing of nine Turkish activists aboard a Gaza-bound ship meant to deliver humanitarian to the Palestinian population.
The prime minister said that Israel has isolated itself and must "pay the price" after refusing to apologize for the raid on the flotilla.
He also insisted that Turkey's relations with Israel will not return to normal unless Israel apologizes, pays compensation for families of the victims and lifts the blockade of Gaza.
The Arab League's meeting decided to continue efforts to rally international support for the Palestinians bid to a UN recognition for an independent state within the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.
The head of Al-Azhar institution, Ahmed al-Tayeb, also expressed his support for the Palestinian bid, and called on all Arab countries to pressure the United States not to vote against the Palestinian demand.