PM Erdogan receives King Faisal prize, the "Arab Nobel"
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday was presented the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam, also known as the Arab Nobel Prize, at a ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Speaking at the award ceremony, Erdogan said that Turkey is working sincerely to establish peace, stability and security in both its region and the world. "The Middle East being known as a region of tears and bloodshed vexes our hearts," Erdogan said, adding that it should be known for science, art, literature, peace and solidarity. "Our calls for peace, compromise, dialogue and justice have broad repercussions." Erdogan hailed the King Faisal International Prize as a remarkable contribution to Turkey's peace efforts. "As long as I breathe, I will proudly carry this great title," he said. The prize, given annually by Saudi Arabia's King Faisal Foundation, is presented to scholars and laymen who create positive differences in the world and make contributions to Islam. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Erdogan said Turkey may resume mediating indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel. "There is a new interest," he said. "Syria has no reservations about Turkey's mediation, and Israel has said it could start new rounds. So we will make our assessments and if we reach a positive conclusion, we could resume the process." Syria and Israel held several rounds of talks in indirect negotiations before they collapsed when Israel launched an offensive on Gaza in December 2008. Erdogan also urged the international community to put more pressure on Israel for lasting peace in the region.