Hamas launched a very heavy attack on Israel. We had to protect our people.
Israeli sources criticized Turkey on Thursday morning for its support of the Hamas guerrilla army and for calling Israel’s military actions in Gaza “criminal.”
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Thursday with Egpyt’s President Mubarak in Cairo. This is part of a series of meetings that the Turkish prime minister has conducted in several Arab capitals.
On Wednesday, Erdogan visited Jordan, meeting with King Abdullah. During the meeting, Erdogan referred to Israel’s military operations in Gaza as “criminal.”
The Turkish prime minister previously denounced on Sunday the Israeli air assault as a "crime against humanity" and called for an end to the violence. The devoutly religious Muslim prime minister of the secular Turkish country has had to walk a tightrope between his religious convictions and his opposition to Islamic extremists, which he has denounced in the past.
Erdogan said he was appalled that the Israeli attacks came as his country was helping mediate peace talks between Syria and Israel. He said the attack on Gaza was a "show of disrespect" towards Turkey and cancelled efforts to organize peace talks between Israel and Syria.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Turkey last week to hold talks with Erdogan and Turkish President Abdullah Gul regarding the Turkey-mediated indirect talks between Syria and Israel.
Minister of Welfare and Social Services Yitzchak Herzog stated that Israel had no intention to harm its diplomatic relations with Turkey. Nevertheless, it had no choice but to attack Gaza. "Hamas launched a very heavy attack on Israel. We had to protect our people," Herzog added.
Herzog also said Israel was sure that it would regain Turkey's confidence in the future.