'Erdogan-led Turkey can't broker talks'

Diplomatic official: Turkey no longer "trustworthy diplomatic partner... Syria negotiations will suffer."

By HAVIV RETTIG GUR
February 1, 2009 00:33
1 minute read.
'Erdogan-led Turkey can't broker talks'

ASSAD ERDOGAN 248.88. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "has lost all credibility as an honest broker in peace discussions," a senior Israeli diplomatic official told The Jerusalem Post Saturday night, citing Erdogan's recent anti-Israel rhetoric. "As long as he is the prime minister of the country, Turkey has no place in peace negotiations or discussions," the official added. "It is not a trustworthy diplomatic partner anymore." Until recently, Turkey had played a key role in quiet discussions between Israel, Syria, and other regional players. The loss of the Turkish diplomatic channel was a serious blow to these discussions, said Foreign Ministry officials. "The only parties that could reasonably play that mediating role now are the Americans under Obama, or, in theory, a European party," the diplomatic official surmised. At the Davos World Economic Forum on Thursday night, Erdogan launched a blistering attack on Operation Cast Lead, Israel's offensive against Hamas infrastructure in Gaza. This was followed by an impassioned defense of Israel's actions by President Shimon Peres, Erdogan's fellow panel member at the prestigious conference. When Erdogan tried to respond, he was cut off by the moderator, and quickly stormed off the stage, accusing Peres of lying. "It's not that he criticized Israel," said the Israeli official. "Other countries, such as the French, criticize Israel whenever they see fit. But Erdogan launched accusation after accusation and did everything possible to be disrespectful, including telling outright lies. He went as far as to publicly shame the president of the state of Israel," the official said. The Davos incident was the culmination of a month of angry tirades against Israel by the Turkish prime minister. Throughout the Gaza fighting, Erdogan blamed Israel alone for the escalation and called for it to be barred from the UN. He accused Israel of "inhuman actions which would bring it to self-destruction. Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents," he said. In a January 13 speech to Turkey's parliament, he accused "media outlets supported by Jews" of "disseminating false reports on what happens in Gaza, finding unfounded excuses to justify targeting of schools, mosques, and hospitals."

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