Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that they could not make the Mediterranean a lake of peace by remaining silent and ignoring the ongoing tragedy in Gaza.

Speaking at the opening of the 4th Plenary Session of the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly in Istanbul, Erdogan said that Turkey and Spain, which took place in each end of the Mediterranean, both witnessed terrorist acts, adding that nobody could guarantee that the terrorism, which hit Turkey and Spain today, would not threaten any other country tomorrow.

Erdogan noted that if countries were not in solidarity against terrorism today, it would be too late tomorrow.

He said that today it was not possible to remain indifferent towards Palestinian issue which was the basic reason of the problems in the Middle East.

Erdogan said that what was happening in Gaza, a Mediterranean city, was affecting both people in Gaza and the whole Mediterranean.

He added that security of every country in the region had an utmost importance for everybody. He said that the security of Palestine was as important as the security of Israel.

Erdogan said that Turkey was exerting efforts to solve disputes between Israel and Palestine, Israel and Syria as well as bring stability to Lebanon. He added that Turkey wished all Mediterranean countries to exert efforts similarly.

Turkey was the 17th largest economy of the world with 742 billion U.S. dollar of gross domestic product at the end of 2008, Erdogan said.

"Turkey's exports became 132 billion U.S. dollars in 2008. A drop will take place in exports this year, but it will begin increasing in 2010," he said.

Erdogan said Turkey has signed 15 free trade agreements with countries in its region and out of the region, and nine of these agreements were signed with countries in the Mediterranean Basin.

In regard to Turkey's EU accession process, Erdogan said Turkey aimed at being a full member of the EU.

Turkey has been fulfilling its tasks on its EU path to improve democracy and living standards, he said.

"Our country which knows the Middle East, Balkans and Caucasus well is an important opportunity for the EU," he said.

Premier Erdogan said that Turkey extended full support to efforts in order to form "Europe-Mediterranean Region."

There was need for a great cooperation to make the Mediterranean Sea a sea of peace and stability, he added.

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