Attack On Iran Would Be 'Disastrous' For Middle East, Turkish Prime Minister Warns

04/02/2012 01:11 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2012
  • The Huffington Post/AP

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned over the weekend that an Israeli strike on Iran would have "disastrous" consequences for the Middle East, likely sparking a regional war, Turkish newspapers reported on Sunday. Turkey is a major U.S. ally in the region and Erdogan indicated that he had expressed his concerns to President Barack Obama.

The Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported:

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Erdogan was quoted by the Turkish daily Hurriyet as warning against the "disastrous" outcome of a possible Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, saying: "The entire region would be devastated if Israel strikes Iran." [...]

Erdogan also criticized the international community for keeping mum on Israel's alleged nuclear weapons, while threatening Iran over what he said was a peaceful nuclear program.

"Israel has between 250 to 300 nuclear warheads. Nobody is discussing that," Erdogan said, adding: "Iran says they would not produce nuclear weapons. They are saying that they would produce a specific amount of enriched uranium rods and stop after that."

Turkey is set to host a new round of diplomatic talks between Iran and a group of world powers -- the U.S., France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany -- beginning on April 13.

On Monday, Russia's foreign minister also strongly warned against a military attack on Iran, saying that a pre-emptive strike would violate international law.

Sergey Lavrov said on a visit to Armenia that an attack on Iran would destabilize the region.

Israel and the U.S. have warned that all options remain open, including military action, to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Iran insists its uranium enrichment program is aimed at civilian power generation and research, but Israel and Western nations believe it is a cover for a nuclear weapons bid.

Russia, which built Iran's first nuclear power plant, backed some of the previous U.N. sanctions against Tehran, but in recent months has firmly rejected imposing new sanctions and called for dialogue.