Turkey: No Normalizing Israeli Ties Without Apology

Posted July 23rd, 2011 at 6:25 am (UTC-5)
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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey will not normalize relations with Israel until Israel apologized for its deadly raid on a flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip last year.

Mr. Erdogan said Saturday Israel also should pay compensation to the families of the Turkish victims killed in the raid and lift the blockade on Gaza.

The prime minister was speaking at a meeting of Palestinian ambassadors in Istanbul. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is attending the meeting.

Relations between Israel and Turkey were severely strained last year when Israeli commandos raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, killing nine Turkish activists.

Israel says its marines acted in self-defense after activists with clubs and knives attacked an initial boarding party. Israel has justified its blockade of Gaza by saying it is aimed at stopping arms from reaching Hamas, the Islamist militant party that controls the area.