Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Turkey says to ask UNSC, IAEA to verify whether Israel has nuclear bombs

Ankara will ask the United Nations Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to verify Israel's possession of nuclear weapons, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

“We will put forward initiatives both in the UN Security Council and in the IAEA on the issue that threatens the security of the region, especially Turkey,” the Star newspaper quoted the Turkish leader as saying at an economic forum in Algeria.

Erdogan earlier spoke about the need to verify the presence of nuclear weapons in Israel and the intention to initiate the relevant process in international structures, including after the June 20 government meeting. The Turkish president pointed out that Israel openly recognizes that it possesses nuclear weapons, but international structures, particularly the IAEA and the UN, do not conduct a corresponding investigation.

Erdogan also told the forum that Turkey would make efforts to rebuild Gaza and seek to hold Israel criminally responsible for crimes committed in the Palestinian enclave.

Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu caused outrage across the Muslim world this month when he floated the idea of dropping a “nuclear bomb” on Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netahyau suspended the minister from cabinet meetings following his comments.

Erdogan has harshly criticized Israel’s conduct in Gaza, labeling it a “terror state” and accusing the Israel Defense Forces of committing war crimes against the Palestinians. Netanyahu responded by accusing the Turkish president of supporting “the terrorist state of Hamas.”

The current round of violence between Israel and Hamas broke out on October 7 when Palestinian fighters attacked Israeli communities, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking over 200 hostages. Israel responded with airstrikes and a ground invasion of Gaza. More than 14,000 Gazans have been killed by the bombardment, according to local officials.

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