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Erdogan. Called Assad a 'butcher'
Photo: Reuters
Erdogan: Israeli raids on Syria 'unacceptable'
Commenting on strikes attributed to Israel, Turkish prime minister says 'no excuse can justify this operation'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said the alleged Israeli air raids on Syria were "unacceptable."

 

"No excuse can justify this operation," Erdogan told ruling party lawmakers in parliament after the weekend strikes on the war-torn country sent regional tensions soaring.

 

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Erdogan made the remarks despite his harsh condemnation of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Two days ago, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet quoted Erdogan as saying: "God willing, we'll see the butcher Assad get his punishment."

 

On Monday, Israel and Turkey reached a draft agreement on compensation for the victims of a 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

 

The draft agreement was reached during a meeting in Jerusalem between Turkish officials, headed by the deputy foreign minister, and Israeli government representatives.

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office said a final agreement was expected soon. It did not reveal details on Monday's agreement and said "additional clarifications" were needed on a "few issues."

 

Israel and Turkey are working to mend ties that were ruptured after the 2010 raid, which killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American when Israeli commandos stormed a ship bound for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Israel maintains a blockade on the territory.

 

As part of the US-brokered rapprochement, Israel apologized to Turkey for the deaths and agreed to pay compensation to the victims as a step toward restoring ties.

 

Israel refused to pay the families directly, but agreed to setting up a Turkish government humanitarian fund for compensating the victims' families as well as those wounded. Israel is expected to pay millions of shekels as part of the agreement.

 

Israel has also demanded that any lawsuits against IDF soldiers and officers would be dropped.

 

 

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