By AFP – 17 Jan 2010
ISTANBUL — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday decried what he called Muslim leaders’ inadequate response to Palestinian suffering in the Gaza Strip as “pitiful.”
He made the remarks when asked to compare the attitude of other Muslim countries to Turkey’s vehement outbursts against Israel over its devastating war on Gaza last year and its ongoing blockade of the impoverished enclave.
“The governments have failed to display the reactions that the world’s Muslims expected from them. And this has been a pitiful aspect of the matter,” Erdogan told reporters.
He spoke shortly before flying to the United Arab Emirates and then on to Saudi Arabia.
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak met with Turkish officials in Ankara on Sunday, eager to defuse tensions between the two nations.
Once-flourishing Turkish-Israeli ties took a sharp downturn last year when Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted government launched an unprecedented barrage of criticism of Israel’s war on Gaza.
In a memorable outburst, Erdogan stormed out of a debate at the World Economic Forum, accusing the Jewish state of “barbarian” acts and telling its President Shimon Peres, sitting next to him, that “you know well how to kill people”.