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Turkish PM Vows to Fight Anti-Semitism

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says anti-semitism is wrong, and that his country guarantees the rights and safety of its Jewish community.

The prime minister adds that Turkey has no history of anti-semitism. He made the comments Tuesday to try to calm the Jewish community's concerns that anti-Jewish sentiment is creeping into the predominantly Muslim country.

Mr. Erdogan has harshly criticized Israel's offensive in Gaza because of the many civilian casualties. He says his frustration is not with the Israeli people or Jews, but with Israel's government.

Turkey has been playing a greater role in regional affairs, including as a mediator between Israel and rival Syria.

Today, Turkish President Abdullah Gul embarked on a three-day trip to Saudi Arabia for talks on the Middle East conflict. Before departing, Mr. Gul said he and Saudi King Abdullah would discuss what they can do together to achieve "lasting peace and stability in the region."

Mr. Gul says the talks will also focus on bilateral economic ties, and developments in Iraq. He says one goal is to increase the current trade volume between the two countries from $5.5 billion to $10 billion by 2010.

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