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Turkey Criticizes Israeli Detention of Hamas Officials

Turkey's prime minister has criticized Israel for seizing Palestinian government officials in response to the abduction of an Israeli soldier.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday he is struggling to understand why Israel has seized eight Palestinian ministers and more than 50 members of the Palestinian legislature.

He suggested that Israel's reaction to the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit has been out of proportion. He said he plans to speak Saturday with U.S. President George Bush to further efforts to end the crisis.

Turkey, a mostly Muslim country, has had friendly relations with Israel.

On Friday, thousands of protesters in Istanbul demonstrated against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip. The offensive began after Palestinian militants kidnapped the Israeli soldier on Sunday.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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