PM Erdogan hits out at US statements on Bin Laden killing
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized statements made by American officials after the killing of Osama bin Laden, breaking with other top Turkish officials who expressed strong satisfaction with the U.S. operation against the al-Qaeda chief. “I find America’s statement that the world is now safer after bin Laden’s death to be wrong. This is not an individual issue. There is not one bin Laden, there are many of him,” Prime Minister said in an interview with Kanal 7 on Monday night. Drawing attention to the timing of the operation, Erdogan noted a statement made by Pakistani President Asef Ali Zardari indicating that the Americans could have gotten bin Laden earlier. “Which one shall we believe now?” Erdogan asked. He added, though, that this issue was also confusing because Zardari did not discuss it when they met during the Pakistani president’s visit to Turkey in mid-April. The Pakistani administration’s claim that it was unaware of bin Laden’s whereabouts is “also worth questioning,” Erdogan said. The prime minister cited another statement that he said added to the confusion, a claim by Iran’s intelligence chief that they had evidence that bin Laden was already dead before the May 1 raid. Erdogan dismissed the suggestion that he had discussed this issue with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad late Monday during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 4th U.N. Conference on Least Developed Countries being held in Istanbul.