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Erdogan says end of siege on Gaza and apology will end crisis with Israel

February 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Media sources are reporting that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reiterated his country’s demands for an end to the political crisis between Israel and Turkey.

“Restoring good relations between Israel and Turkey is linked to three conditions,” said Mr. Erdogan. “The first is that Israel should offer a public apology for killing nine Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara; the second is the provision of financial compensation for the families of those killed; the third is an end to Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip.”

Turkey, he stressed, will not abandon these demands, even at the cost of the continuation of the crisis with Israel.

Responding to a question about the economic damage caused by the strained relations between the two governments, Erdogan said, “The Turkish economy has not been affected at all. And as for the Israeli tourists who have stopped visiting Turkey, we were able to replace them with tourists of other nationalities; around 31 million tourists from around the world have come to Turkey over the past year.”

According to the Palestinian Information Centre, Prime Minister Erdogan used his speech at the opening of the World Economic Forum in Istanbul to point out that the continued suffering of the Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation is one of the main sources of instability in the region.
“The Palestinian tragedy,” added Erdogan, “is that innocent infants, children, women and elderly people are being bombed and killed en masse, and people are being kept in the largest prison in the world, which creates a wave of anger all over the region.”