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Turkey's PM condemned for comments

Aug. 21, 2013 at 8:41 AM

ANKARA, Turkey, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who accused Israel of being responsible for the turmoil in Egypt was harshly criticized in Israel and America.

"Who is behind [the coup]? There is Israel. We have documents in our hands," the Hurriyet Daily News quoted the Turkish prime minister as saying Tuesday before members of his ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara.

"What is said about Egypt? That democracy is not the ballot box. Who is behind this? Israel is," Erdogan said.

Avigdor Lieberman, former foreign minister and head of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee compared Erdogan to the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

"I believe many of you have heard Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's verbal assault on the state of Israel. Everyone who hears the hateful words and incitement understand beyond a doubt that he follows in the footsteps of Goebbels," Ynetnews.com quoted Lieberman as saying during a tour in southern Israel Wednesday.

"We strongly condemn the statements that were made by Prime Minister Erdogan today [Tuesday]," deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters at the daily press briefing.

"Suggesting that Israel is somehow responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated and wrong. Statements like these only distract from the urgent need for all countries in the region, and frankly many leading countries around the world to work together through constructive dialogue to address the fluid and dangerous situation in Egypt."

Erdogan's "evidence" referred to a video discussion on the Arab Spring held at Tel Aviv University in June 2011 that included Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and French Jewish intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy, Today's Zaman said. Levy at the time said if the Muslim Brotherhood "arrives in Egypt, I will not say democracy wants it. So let democracy progress. Democracy is not only elections; it is also values."

When asked whether he would expect the Egyptian Army to intervene against the Muslim Brotherhood, Levy said he would support preventing the Brotherhood from coming to power "by using all means," the Turkish newspapers quoted him as saying.

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