PM lashes out at Israel, Kılıçdaroğlu in speech

June 07, 2010, Monday/ 18:00:00
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan directed harsh criticism at Israel and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, separately, in a speech delivered in the northwestern province of Bursa on Sunday.

“The Middle East should enjoy peace and stability. We will continue our struggle until peace dominates the Middle East,” Erdoğan said, referring to Turkey’s efforts to curb violent acts and clashes in the region. “We will not give up our demand for a more peaceful Middle East. No one should have any doubt on this issue,” he noted.

Erdoğan’s remarks came in response to the killings of at least nine Turkish peace activists at the hands of Israeli naval commandos that raided an aid flotilla bound for the besieged Gaza Strip last week. Israeli commandos raided the flotilla in a pre-dawn operation and shot at defenseless peace activists. Around 600 activists were attempting to transport humanitarian aid to Gaza in six boats.

The prime minister also lashed out at the CHP’s Kılıçdaroğlu, who targeted him over his words on Saturday. “It is really strange. Saying ‘Do not kill,’ I was addressing Tel Aviv. However, the response came from Keşan [a district of Edirne Kılıçdaroğlu visited on Saturday],” Erdoğan said.

Reciting one of the commandments in the Torah, Erdoğan said last week that the Israeli assault on the aid flotilla had no place in Judaism. He said the Torah ordered Jews not to kill the innocent and defenseless. Kılıçdaroğlu responded to the prime minister’s remarks on Saturday by reciting another commandment of the holy book. “Erdoğan knows the Torah; we thank him. What does its sixth commandment say? Do not kill! But the holy book also has an eighth commandment, which says ‘Do not steal.’ And the ninth commandment says ‘Do not lie,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, implying that the prime minister was engaged in theft and lies.

Erdoğan, in response, said the CHP leader had positioned himself as a defender of Israel.

“[In my Torah remarks] I addressed Israel and the Israeli government. It is strange that the response came from Keşan. Look at the situation: someone is responding to me in the name of Tel Aviv. He is acting like Tel Aviv’s lawyer. He recounts to me the commandments of the Torah. I read the Torah and the Bible as a matter of my education. I read the Quran many times, too,” he said. The prime minister also advised Kılıçdaroğlu not to stop at just reading the commandments of holy books. “Apply the commandments in your life. Why do you mention things you do not apply to your life? If it wouldn’t be a burden on you, why don’t you tell your friends about the commandments, too? Those whose history is full of theft, plunder and slander have geared up to respond to us over Tel Aviv,” Erdoğan added.

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