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Erdogan. Wants his navy to escort another flotilla Photo: Reuters
Erdogan. Wants his navy to escort another flotilla Photo: Reuters

Report: Turkish PM wants to visit Gaza

Lebanese newspaper al-Mustaqbal says Erdogan considering going to Strip himself in order to break siege

Roee Nahmias
Published: 06.05.10, 10:18 / Israel News

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considering a trip to Gaza in order to break the siege imposed on the Strip by Israel, Lebanese newspaper al-Mustaqbal reported Saturday, quoting "knowledgeable sources".


The newspaper said that "as part of the open conflict between Turkey and Israel following the massacre against the 'freedom sail' to Gaza and the protest sparked in the world, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is considering going to Gaza himself in order to break the blockade imposed on the Strip."


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The sources noted that the Turkish leader had raised the option in a conversation with his associates.


According to the report, Erdogan told the American administration he was planning to ask his navy to escort another aid flotilla, but that American officials asked him to delay the plan in order to look into the matter.


Erdogan with one of activists injured in Navy raid (Photo: Reuters)


The newspaper reported that the Erdogan government was under a lot of pressure from "political and popular groups" to annul all military agreements with Israel, but that the military establishment was strongly opposed to this demand.


The Turkish prime minister harshly criticized Israel over its raid on the Gaza-bound Marmara ship earlier this week, which left nine Turkish men dead. On Friday, Erdogan accused the Jewish state of murdering the activists aboard the ship and mentioned the "Thou shall not kill" commandment in Turkish, English and Hebrew.


Turkey's ambassador to Washington warned Friday that his country could be forced to break relations with Israel unless it apologizes for its raid on the Marmara.


In a meeting with reporters, Namik Tan outlined three Turkish demands for Israel including a public apology. He said Israel also must accept a credible independent investigation of the raid and end its blockade against Gaza.


When asked if Turkey might break relations, Tan cited the high emotions of the Turkish public about the raid. He said: "We don't want this to go to that point."


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