Report: Turkey PM says Lieberman threatened to nuke Gaza

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Turkey's prime minister has further inflamed simmering Israel-Turkey tensions, claiming that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to use nuclear weapons against Gaza, The Guardian reported Monday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as making the allegation in an interview published by the British newspaper. The comments came amid a crisis in ties between the two allies, which erupted earlier in the month after Turkey banned Israel from participating in a NATO air force drill.

The crisis was deepened two weeks ago, when Ankara refused to take off the air a television drama that depicts Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian children.

In the interview, Erdogan reportedly insisted that the Turkey-Israel strategic alliance remained alive, but chided Lieberman over the alleged nuclear threat regarding the Gaza Strip.

The Turkish leader also stressed that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly called for Israel's destruction, was a "friend" of Turkey's.

"There is no doubt he is our friend," Erdogan was quoted as saying. "As a friend so far we have very good relations and have had no difficulty at all."

He reportedly rejected on Western accusations that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon, saying: "Iran does not accept it is building a weapon. They are working on nuclear power for the purposes of energy only."

By: Haaretz Service

http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1123646.html