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Turkish PM: Israel Must Apologize for Raid on Flotilla

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (file photo)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (file photo)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has again urged Israel to apologize for, and compensate the victims of, a raid earlier this year on a flotilla trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.

Mr. Erdogan said Saturday if Israel fails to make those gestures it will remain isolated in the Middle East. He accused Israel of committing state terrorism.

Eight Turkish activists and one Turkish-American were killed during Israel's raid in May on the ship Mavi Marmara. Israel said its troops acted in self-defense after being attacked by activists.

A few days ago, Turkish lawyers for pro-Palestinian activists filed a complaint in the International Criminal Court, accusing Israel of war crimes in its flotilla raid. That filing revived an issue that has severely strained Israel's relations with Turkey.

A delegation representing 300 activists and a Turkish organization submitted the complaint to the prosecutor's office in The Hague, seeking an investigation of the raid. The prosecutor's office offered no comment on whether it intends to pursue the case.

The court, which began work in 2002 as the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal, receives hundreds of complaints every year. So far it has filed indictments against 17 war crimes suspects, all of them involved in African conflicts.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.