Azerbaijan , Baku, Sept. 27 / Trend A. Isgandarov/
In strong remarks against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent criticism of Israel during an interview with CNN International, Israeli Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman accused Erdoğan's government of "supporting and nurturing terror" Today's Zaman reported.
"Anyone who saw CNN yesterday saw Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan once again verbally attack the state of Israel," said Lieberman. "We have no problems with Turkey who, for years was a friendly country, we were partners and cooperated in a number of fields including defense and economy," he was quoted as saying by Israel's Ynet website on Tuesday. "We certainly respect the Turkish nation and Turkey as a state, our problem is first and foremost with the current Turkish leadership -- the radical and extremist Islamist leadership that supports and nurtures terror," he added.
Lieberman also argued that Erdoğan's appearance on CNN Sunday was "excellent" for Israel. "If you ask what we can do PR wise, I'd buy each and every media outlet and let Erdoğan speak all day and all night. Every time he speaks on TV he brings more support for the state of Israel," he said.
During the CNN interview, Erdoğan said Turkey's relations with Israel will not normalize unless the current atmosphere changes considerably. "Turkish-Israeli relations are broken due to tension Israel itself escalated, which began with the Israeli raid on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza," Erdoğan said.
The Turkish prime minister, known to be highly critical of Israel's policies regarding Palestine, said Israel has killed hundreds and thousands of Palestinians, while Palestinian rockets and bombs have killed only a few Israelis. He also accused Israel of using the Holocaust to perpetuate the idea that "they are the victims all the time."
Relations between the once-close allies have deteriorated dramatically since Israeli commandos raided a ship of activists trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip last year, killing nine Turks on board.