Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told organizers of a sail to Gaza Tuesday that he would support them in their efforts to "break the oppressive siege on the Gaza Strip".
The independent Palestinian news agency PNN reported that during the Istanbul meeting with members of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) Erdogan said the breaking of the siege was "at the top of Turkey's list of priorities".
He said he would also support efforts to rebuild "what the Israeli war machine destroyed 15 months ago".
Israel's recent acceptance into the ranks of the OECD also came up. "We must force Israel to lift the siege on Gaza and respect human rights as a condition for its acceptance into any international organization," Erdogan said.
Arafat Madi, who heads the ECESG, told the Turkish leader, "Turkey's part in lifting the siege on Gaza is very important – with regard to the official international positions which are not effective."
On Monday it was cleared for publication that the Shin Bet had a Turkish citizen in custody for two weeks and was interrogating him on suspicion of aiding Palestinian organizations banned by Israel.
It said Izzet Sahin, a member of the Turkey's Islamic and pro-Palestinian rights group IHH, entered the country in November and was arrested on April 27 while traveling from Bethlehem to Jerusalem.
The website for IHH - the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief - said Sahin had been living in the West Bank since November 28 and was enrolled as a student at Israel's Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
It said the arrest was an Israeli attempt to stop the sail to Gaza and denied the Shin Bet's allegations.