ISTANBUL (AFP/Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday decried what he called Muslim leaders inadequate response to Palestinian suffering in the Gaza Strip as pitiful. He made the remarks when asked to compare the attitude of other Muslim countries to Turkeys vehement outbursts against Israel over its devastating war on Gaza last year and its ongoing blockade of the impoverished enclave. The governments have failed to display the reactions that the worlds Muslims expected from them. And this has been a pitiful aspect of the matter, Erdogan told reporters. He spoke shortly before flying to the United Arab Emirates and then on to Saudi Arabia. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak met with Turkish officials in Ankara on Sunday, eager to defuse tensions between the two nations. Turkey and Israel will remain allies as long as their interests align, Turkeys Defence Minister said after meeting Israeli counterpart Barak, underlining a recent strain in relations. Turkish Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul, speaking in English, said Turkey wanted to cooperate with Israel and called the two countries neighbours because of their shared interests. Barak struck a more conciliatory note, saying it was proper and right to leave the ups and down of the two countries in the past. Gonul also said that Turkey did not approve of nuclear weapons in neighbouring countries, at once supporting the Wests policies against Irans nuclear projects, but also pointing to Israels assumed atomic arsenal.