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Turkey: Israel must implement promises

March 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, March 25 (UPI) -- Diplomatic ties with Israel will not be fully normalized until Israel fulfills what it promised in an apology last week, Turkey's prime minister says.

"When implementation [of Israeli promises] takes places, there will be normalization," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a crowd in Eskisehir.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan in a phone call Friday for commandos killing eight Turkish citizens and a Turkish-American during a raid on a ship, the Mavi Marmara, taking humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in 2010.

Ankara had demanded an official apology from Tel Aviv, reparations for families of the passengers killed and lifting of the blockade on Gaza.

Israeli officials had previously "expressed regret" for the incident several times, Erdogan said Saturday, but until this weekend had refused to offer a formal apology, Today's Zaman reported.

While Erdogan said Sunday Israel had met all the demands, an Israeli official said Israel had not committed to ending the Gaza blockade and could tighten control if the security of Israel was threatened.

A statement released by Netanyahu's office Friday said Netanyahu and Erdogan "agreed to work to improve the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories."

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