CAIRO: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted Israel and said recognition of a Palestinian state is an “obligation,” as he kicked off in Egypt a tour to bolster Ankara’s ties with new Arab regimes.
“A Palestinian child crying in Gaza wrenches a mother’s heart in Ankara,” he said.
The prime minister also presented his country as a model for an Arab world, giving advice on everything from balancing secularism and Islam to challenging Israel during a high-profile visit to Egypt aimed at advancing his growing status as a regional leader.
Addressing Arab foreign ministers as he started a three-nation Arab Spring tour, he also said governments should not use force to repress the legitimate demands of their people.
And he reiterated that strained ties with Israel will not improve unless the Jewish state apologizes over the death of nine Turks killed in a raid on an aid flotilla that tried to break the Israeli-imposed blockade of Gaza.
“Recognizing the Palestinian state is not an option, it is an obligation,” Erdogan said in Cairo, as the Palestinians seek support for a UN membership bid they plan to launch next week.
“Before the end of this year we will see Palestine at the UN in a very different situation,” he said.