Turkey PM tells Arabs: Israel has isolated itself

By MAGGIE MICHAEL | September 13, 2011 | 8:45 AM EDT

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan looks at paintings showing Egyptain defence ministers of the early part of the last century upon his arrival at the defence ministry in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011 to meet with Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of Egypt's ruling military council. Erdogan, intent on broadening Turkey's influence in the Middle East and the Arab world, started a visit to Egypt and will also visit Tunisia and Libya, two other countries where popular uprisings have ousted autocratic leaders. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, pool)

CAIRO (AP) — Turkey's prime minister has told Arab foreign ministers that Israel has isolated itself and must "pay the price" after refusing to apologize for its raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last year.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke before the gathering at the Arab League Tuesday, part of a three-day visit to Egypt aimed at boosting his government's standing in the Arab world.

Many in the Arab world have cheered Erdogan's tough stance on Israel. Turkey suspended military ties with Israel, expelled top Israeli diplomats, pledged to support the Palestinians' statehood bid and vowed to send the Turkish navy to escort Gaza-bound aid ships in the future.

Erdogan told the ministers, Israel "must pay the price for the crimes it committed."