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TURKEY WITHDRAWS AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL OVER DEATHS TO FLOTILLA PASSANGERS


Israeli naval commandos stormed a flotilla of ships carrying aid and hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to the blockaded Gaza Strip on Monday, killing at least 10 passengers and wounded 30, in a predawn raid that set off worldwide condemnation and a diplomatic crisis.
Israel's tough response triggered widespread condemnation across Europe; many of the passengers were from European countries.
The raid also strained already tense relations with Israel's longtime
Muslim ally Turkey, the unofficial sponsor of the mission, and drew more attention to the plight of Gaza's 1.5 million people.
  • Turkey's deputy prime minister says Turkey is withdrawing its ambassador to Israel, canceling three joint military drills and calling on the U.N. Security Council to convene in an emergency session about Israel.
  • The moves come after 10 pro-Palestinian activists on an aid flotilla were reported killed and dozens wounded by Israeli forces.
  • Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says Turkey is withdrawing its ambassador on Monday and also calling back a youth soccer team from Israel. He equates Israel's actions with "piracy."
  • Furious Turkish protesters tried to storm Israel's Consulate in Istanbul then marched toward the city's main square denouncing Israel over the deaths, which drew condemnation from around the world. Arab countries expressed outrage and European nations with passengers aboard the ships summoned the Israeli ambassadors to their countries and called for an investigation.
  • Turkey, which currently holds a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council, demanded it meet about the killings, which Bulent Arinc equated with "piracy." He denied Israeli statements that some on the ships headed for the Gaza Strip were armed and had attacked the Israeli soldiers.
  • The raid was a devastating blow to relations between the long-time allies, already deeply strained by tensions over Israeli actions in Gaza. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was cutting short his Latin America tour and was expected to return home on Tuesday.

On the same juncture, Israel's prime minister has expressed his support for the militray's actions in a deadly raid against an aid flotilla sailing to the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Benjamin Netanyahu's office says he spoke Monday to top Israeli diplomatic and security officials by telephone from Canada and voiced his "full backing" for the military.
Source: Yahoo News, AP

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