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Israeli government the problem, not the people: Turkish PM

Monday October 03, 2011 09:36:10 PM, IANS

Istanbul: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday said his country has problems with the Israeli government but not its people.

"Our comments are not against the people of Israel and especially not against our own Jewish citizens but against the current Israeli administration," Erdogan told reporters in Turkey's largest city before departing on a visit to South Africa.

He said the Israeli administration has chosen to be alone by sacrificing its friendship with Turkey and that this is due to its own internal wrangling.

Turkish-Israeli relations have been severely strained over Israel's refusal to apologize and pay compensation for the deaths of eight Turkish nationals and a US citizen of Turkish origin killed in a Gaza-bound aid flotilla by Israeli commandoes in 2010.

Turkish and Israeli officials have been exchanging tough rhetoric in the past few weeks since the release of the UN-commissioned report on the incident.

The report was rejected by Turkey because it concluded that Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza was in compliance with international law, although the military measures it took to stop the Turkish vessel were "excessive and unreasonable".

Turkey has said it will not normalize ties with Israel until it apologizes and pays compensation to the families of the victims of the Mavi Marmara incident and lifts its blockade on Gaza.






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