Israeli Official Calls Erdogan a 'Bully'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's demand for an apology from Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan prompted one Israeli official to call him a "bully."

"As you can see, there's a pattern here: once a bully, always a bully," the official told CBN News. "He's also bullying his neighbors -- the Armenians and the Kurds. There's no special treatment of any kind for Israel," he said. "Yes, we have a problem with Turkey, but we must examine it for what it is."

During a joint press conference Wednesday with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Baku, Erdogan called Sarksyan's remarks an "historical mistake" that would lead Armenian youth into "darkness," the Turkish paper Hurriyet reported.

Erdogan said his "very serious mistake" required an official apology. "There cannot be such diplomacy. He must apologize," he said.

The Turkish prime minister was referring to remarks at the All Armenian Olympiad of Armenian language and literature last Saturday when a student asked the president about the historic western part of the country.

Sarksyan said retrieving the area would be "the task of your generation."

"Every generation has some goal to achieve. "The current generation defended and liberated a part of Armenian land. If the future generation makes much effort, then Armenia will be one of the best states in the world," he said.

Threatening Israel

Earlier this week, Erdogan threatened Israel with "Plan B" -- a further degradation of relations between the two countries without an apology for last year's confrontation aboard the Turkish-owned flagship, Mavi Mamara -- part of a flotilla seeking to break Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed in the fighting. Israel maintains the commandos were defending their lives, as videotaped footage confirms.

Erdogan's latest demand follows several weeks of meetings between Israeli and Turkish officials to put the incident to rest. Last week, Erdogan said he would like to meet Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, seen as a diplomatic affront to Israel and the U.S.

Israeli Strategic Affairs minister Moshe Ya'alon, who heads the Israeli delegation, said Israel would apologize for "operational failures," but not for the steps it was forced to take on board.

Meanwhile, the release of the U.N. Palmer Commission report on the confrontation was postponed until August 20 in hopes that Israel and Turkey will reach a mutually acceptable conclusion to the incident.

Turkey's government also has an ongoing problem with its Kurdish population, who are seeking official recognition and more autonomy. 

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.