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Erdogan: Israel carrying out 'terrorist acts' in Gaza

Nov. 19, 2012 2:48 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 20, 2012 12:38 P.M.)
ISTANBUL (Reuters) -- Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel on Monday of carrying out "terrorist acts" in its bombardment of Gaza.

"Those who associate Islam with terrorism close their eyes in the face of mass killing of Muslims, turn their heads from the massacre of children in Gaza," Erdogan told a conference of the Eurasian Islamic Council in Istanbul.

"For this reason, I say that Israel is a terrorist state, and its acts are terrorist acts."

Erdogan was visiting Cairo this week, and held talks with Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi. At a joint press conference on Saturday, both sides called for a ceasefire.

The Turkish premier said world powers were not halting Israel's attacks. "The party having the disproportionate force is obvious," he said.

Ties between Israel and Turkey, once Israel's only Muslim ally, crumbled after Israeli marines stormed an aid ship in 2010 seeking to enforce Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in clashes with activists on board.

Ankara expelled Israel's ambassador and froze military cooperation after a UN report into the incident released in September last year.

Earlier this month Turkey opened the trial in absentia of four former Israeli military commanders over the 2010 raid.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is to travel to Gaza on Tuesday with a group of foreign ministers from the Arab League.

Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip has killed 100 Palestinians and wounded more than 700 since Wednesday.

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