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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Erdogan: Israel strike on Iran 'apocalypse'

An Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear installations would cause an "apocalypse," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

During the interview in Istanbul, Erdogan said there was a "very null probability" that Israel will launch a go-it-alone strike in Iran, which he claimed could cause an apocalypse in the entire region.

"But I'm sure that I don't want to see anything like that happening in the region because in this day and age, that region needs peace and prosperity and stability," the Turkish leader told Amanpour.

Erdogan criticized the US over its "lacking of initiative" on Syria. "Maybe it's because of the elections - maybe it's because of the pre-election situation in the States. (That) might be the root cause of the lacking of initiative. Nobody has spoken to us about their reasons, and they are not obliged to state anything," he said through a translator. "We are very thankful and pleased they have stated that they're against this (Assad) regime."

Clinton (L) with Erdogan (Photo: AFP)

Asked by CNN whether he was surprised the US is not offering anything but "nonlethal support" to the opposition, Erdogan said "right now, there are certain things being expected from the United States. The United States had not yet catered to those expectations."

On Wednesday Erdogan said that President Bashar Assad had created a "terrorist state" in Syria and voiced further frustration at the lack of international consensus over the chaos there.

"The massacres in Syria that gain strength from the international community's indifference are continuing to increase," he told a meeting of his ruling AK Party. "The regime in Syria has now become a terrorist state."

Ankara initially cultivated good relations with Assad's administration, but Erdogan has become one of Assad's harshest critics since the uprising against him began 17 months ago.

Turkey, struggling to cope with an influx of around 80,000 Syrian refugees, has repeatedly pushed for a foreign-protected safe zone inside Syria, but the proposal has gained little international support.

Turkey has accused Assad of supplying arms to Kurdish PKK insurgents who have fought government troops in southeast Turkey for almost three decades, and has raised the possibility of military intervention in Syria if the PKK becomes a threat there. Assad has denied that Syria allowed PKK militants to operate on Syrian territory close to the Turkish frontier.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.


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