Turkey accused Israel on Friday of breaking biblical commandments against killing and said it could cut ties with its one-time ally to a minimum after nine Turkish activists died in a raid on a ship bound for Gaza.

 

"I am speaking to them in their own language. The sixth commandment says 'thou shalt not kill'. Did you not understand?" Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in his harshest words yet since Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara on Monday.

 

"I'll say [it] again. I say in English 'you shall not kill'. Did you still not understand? So I'll say to you in your own language. I say in Hebrew 'Lo Tirtzakh'," he said in a televised speech to supporters of his Islamist-leaning AK Party.

 

Erdogan also compared the Israeli actions to those of Kurdish militants in Turkey and stood up for Hamas, calling them "resistance fighters fighting for their land".

 

 "The fate of Jerusalem is not different from the fate of Istanbul," he said, in language reflecting the significance of the holy city to Muslims throughout the world. "The fate of Gaza is not different from the fate of Ankara."

Earlier on Friday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said that Turkey may reduce its relations with Israel to "a minimum" over the Israel Navy's deadly raid of a Turkish-flagged humanitarian aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip.

 

Arinc told NTV broadcaster that Turkey was "assessing deals with Israel" in the clearest sign yet that Muslim Turkey may significantly reduce its ties with once close ally Israel after nine of its nationals were killed in clashes with the Israeli commandos who stormed their ship.

"We may plan to reduce our relations with Israel to a minimum, but to assume everything involving another country is stopped in an instant, to say we have crossed you out of our address book, is not the custom of our state," he told NTV broadcaster.

The incident has brought their relationship to the brink and Turkey has already recalled its ambassador to Israel. Speaking on television Wednesday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said relations between the two countries "will never be as they were before."

"Israel has made one of the biggest mistakes in its history," he added.

Also Friday, Turkish media reported that a prosecutor in Istanbul has started collecting evidence for a possible case against Israeli officials in the wake of Israel's commando raid.

The reports said the prosecutor has been gathering testimony and evidence from Turks who returned from Israel in order to determine whether Turkey should open a case demanding compensation from Israel or even pursue criminal charges against Israeli leaders.

Eight of the victims were laid to rest Thursday in a highly- charged joint ceremony at an Istanbul mosque.