Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is currently in New York to attend UN General Assembly meetings, said in response to a Turkish woman he encountered on the street and who said she was trembling with excitement at having a photo taken with him that he “has never caused anyone to tremble other than Israel.”
Erdoğan drew much interest in New York both from Turkish expats and the foreign press. While he was walking to the UN building after a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman at Türkevi (Turkish House), a Turkish woman working as an intern at the office of Turkey's permanent representative at the UN wanted a photo with the Turkish prime minister.
While she was handing her camera to a friend, she told Erdoğan that she was trembling with excitement at being able to stand next to him, Erdoğan said, “We have not cased anyone to tremble so far, but Israel.”
Relations between Turkey and Israel, two close US allies in the region, have soured since Israeli forces boarded the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010. Ankara downgraded ties and vowed to boost naval patrols in the Eastern Mediterranean in the escalating row. Turkey has demanded compensation and an apology from Israel regarding the deadly flotilla attack, but Israel refuses to do so.
A group of Senegalese women also showed interest in the Turkish prime minister in front of Türkevi. When they told the Turkish premier that they love him and Turkey, Erdoğan said: “We love Senegal, too. We love the Senegalese people.”