Turkey PM Erdogan: World must punish Israel for its 'massacre' on Gaza aid flotilla
Ankara seeks Israel's permission to send aircraft to transport their wounded, dead from Israel to Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called on the international community to punish Israel for storming a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza in an attack that left nine dead.
Israel has detained or deported hundreds of activists who were on the ships which were seized en route to the Palestinian enclave which has been under Israeli blockade since 2006.
Erdogan called the raid a "bloody massacre," and warned "no one should test Turkey's patience."
He told lawmakers in the Turkish parliament that "this bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse and called the Israeli action an attack on international law, the conscience of humanity and world peace.
"Israel's behavior should definitely, definitely be punished," a visibly angry Erdogan told the meeting of his parliamentary deputies, adding: "The time has come for the international community to say 'enough'."
Erdogan also urged the immediate lifting of "the inhumane embargo on Gaza."Islamist views and outreach to Iran and other enemies of Israel have been blamed by many in Israel for souring ties between Israel state and Turkey, once its closest Muslim ally.
Israel and Turkey are currently holding diplomatic discussions to coordinate the arrival of three airplanes from Ankara to pick up over 20 Turkish citizens who were wounded during an Israel Navy commando raid on a flotilla transporting humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, as well as the corpses of several of Turkish passengers killed during the raid.
According to a senior Israeli official, the Turks have emphasized that they wish to pick up their wounded and dead as soon as possible and have requested full information about the other Turkish citizens who were detained by Israel. So far, the Foreign Ministry has been unable to supply this information.
It is still unclear whether Israel will allow the non-wounded detained Turks to board the flights.
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