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Turkey Ousts Israeli Ambassador

Turkey downgraded its diplomatic ties with Israel on Friday, announcing that the Israeli ambassador is no longer welcome and that it would sever military ties between the two countries.

The move came after a recent United Nations report said that Israel commandos used excessive force during a raid on a Gaza flotilla last year during which nine Turkish activists were killed.

The same report also said that Israel was justified in its blockade of the Gaza Strip, that is was a “legal security measure” to prevent weapons and militants from inflicting damage on Israel. But Turkey, standing by the idea that the blockade is both immoral and illegal, said it considers the U.N. report “null and void.” –BF

Voice of America:

In a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday, Israel said it “cherishes the significant ties, past and present, between the Turkish and Jewish peoples” and therefore it had sought to settle the dispute peacefully. But Israel said it could not meet Turkey’s demand to apologize for the flotilla raid because Israeli troops acted in legitimate self-defense.

While describing Israeli actions as unacceptable, the U.N. report also said that Turkey did not do enough to prevent a violent confrontation, and that some Turkish activists were armed with iron rods and knives used to attack Israeli commandos.

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