Turkish PM to check on blockade pledge

March 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, March 26 (UPI) -- Turkey's prime minister said Tuesday he will visit the Palestinian territories to see if Israel carries out what he says was a pledge to lift its Gaza blockade.

Speaking to a group of Parliament members in Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he and Turkish relief organizations would check on humanitarian conditions in Gaza and the West Bank during the trip, Today's Zaman reported.

Turkish officials maintain that when Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized Friday for a 2010 attack on a Turkish ship that killed nine people, he agreed to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Yaakov Amidror, Israel's national security adviser, denied Sunday that Tel Aviv had agreed to end its blockade, adding security in the region could be tightened if Israel's security was threatened.

Erdogan said he expects to visit Gaza in April.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas could accompany the Turkish prime minister during his visit, a senior West Bank official said.

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