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Turkey to Minimize Ties to Israel

ANKARA — Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Friday economic and military cooperation with Israel would be reduced to a minimum in the coming period, as a reaction to the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, which resulted in eight Turkish fatalities.

In the latest in a series of escalating harangues against Israel and steps taken to express Turkish anger over the incident at sea, the deputy prime minister said ties to Israel would not be cut entirely, as “Turkey cannot ignore a country it recognizes,” he said, but all ties, including defense contracts, would be reconsidered.

On Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sharply criticized Israel for its reaction to the Mavi Marmara raid, saying that “Israel stands to lose its closest ally in the Middle East if it does not change its mentality.”

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