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Turkey Condemns Remarks by Israeli Official


Turkey has condemned remarks by an Israeli official comparing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to controversial leaders Moammar Ghadafi of Libya and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry says the remarks by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman were inappropriate and called on Israel to end its "unacceptable approach."

Lieberman recently said Mr. Erdogan was "slowly turning into" Mr. Ghadafi or Mr. Chavez.

Turkey's ties with Israel have been strained since Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip more than a year ago.

Mr. Erdogan criticized the offensive and urged Israel to stop using what he said was disproportionate force against Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel dismissed Mr. Erdogan's criticism and said its offensive was aimed at stopping Hamas militants from firing rockets into Israel.

Earlier this week, news reports said Turkey intends to replace its ambassador to Israel who was involved in a diplomatic dispute this year between the two countries.

In January, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon summoned Turkish envoy Ahmet Oguz Celikkol to complain about a Turkish television series depicting Israeli security forces as war criminals and kidnappers of children.

During that meeting, Ayalon told photographers to note that Celikkol was given a seat on a sofa lower than his own chair, and that there was no Turkish flag on display. Ayalon later apologized to Celikkol.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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