In his latest broadside at his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon, Erdogan said on Thursday that Israel was failing to contribute to the peace process.

The Turkish leader recalled the 15th century Spanish  Inquisition.

Erdogan told Israel's Haaretz daily: "Jews were the victims at that time. Today the Palestinians are the victims, and unfortunately the people of Israel are treating the Palestinians as they were treated 500 years ago. Bombing people - civilians - from helicopters, killing people without any considerations - children, women, the elderly - razing their buildings using bulldozers." 

Relations between Israel and its chief Muslim ally, Turkey, have plummeted in recent days after Erdogan described Israel's onslaught last month in the occupied Gaza Strip refugee camp of Rafah as "state terror".

Within a span of 72 hours, 55 Palestinians - mainly civilians - were killed in the invasion.

Ankara, which also maintains strong economic ties with Israel, has threatened to recall its ambassador for consultations.

However, Erdogan said the long-standing friendship between the two countries was not in danger.