Turkey accused Israel on Friday of breaking biblical commandments against killing and said it could cut ties with its one-time ally to a minimum after nine Turkish activists died in a raid on a ship bound for Gaza.
“I am speaking to them in their own language. The sixth commandment says ‘thou shalt not kill’. Did you not understand?” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in his harshest words yet since Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara on Monday.
“I’ll say again. I say in English ‘you shall not kill’. Did you still not understand?. So I’ll say to you in your own language. I say in Hebrew ‘Lo Tirtzakh’,” he said in a televised speech to supporters of his Islamist-leaning AK Party.
As relations plunged to their worst since the two countries forged a strategic relationship in the 1990s, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc also said military and economic agreements with Israel were now on the table for discussion.
Turkey, Israel’s only Muslim ally, had already recalled its ambassador and cancelled joint military exercises.
US calls for peace
President Barack Obama said the incident should be used as an opportunity to advance Middle East peace efforts. “I think what’s important right now is that we break out of the current impasse, use this tragedy as an opportunity,” he said in an interview on CNN.