Turkey, Israel exchange barbs

(JTA) — The Israeli Foreign Ministry is protesting what it described as the Turkish prime minister’s "unbridled attack against Israel."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of violating Lebanese air space and launching unjustified attacks against Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel "has disproportionate power and it is using that at will while refusing to abide by U.N. resolutions. We can never accept this picture," Erdogan said in a news conference Monday with his Lebanese counterpart. "These steps threaten global peace."

In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that "Israel respects Turkey and is interested in continued normal relations between the states, but expects the Turkish side to reciprocate with a similar approach towards Israel."

"PM Erdogan’s words," the Israeli statement added, "must be taken together with the anti-Israel program currently being broadcast on Turkish television, as well as other serious anti-Israel sentiments repeatedly expressed by the Turkish prime minister for more than a year."

Israel also said it reserves "the right to protect its citizens against rocket attacks and terrorism by Hamas and Hezbollah," and asserted that "Turkey is the last country that should preach morality to Israel and to the Israel Defense Forces."

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