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Turkish PM says navy will escort aid ships to Gaza

ANKARA - The Associated Press | 9/9/2011 12:00:00 AM |

Erdoğan told Al-Jazeera television that the navy will accompany the aid ships to protect them from raids like the one Israel launched on a flotilla trying to break the Gaza blockade last year.

Turkey's prime minister has said Turkish warships will escort Turkish Gaza-bound aid ships in the future.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told Al-Jazeera television that the navy will accompany the aid ships to protect them from raids like the one Israel launched on a flotilla trying to break the Gaza blockade last year, when nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed.

Erdoğan's comments to Al-Jazeera were carried by Turkey's Anatolia news agency late Thursday.

Turkey has already announced it would increase patrols in the eastern Mediterranean in response to Israel's refusal to apologize for the raid. But it was the first admission that Turkey intends to send warships to protect ships trying to break the blockade.

Israel has expressed regret for the loss of lives but insists its forces acted in self-defense.

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