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Turkey says Israel's easing of Gaza blockade 'insufficient'

ANKARA — Agence France-Presse | 6/23/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Israel's easing of its Gaza blockade is 'a positive, but insufficient step,' the Turkish foreign ministry said Tuesday, with Israel's one-time ally calling for it to be totally lifted.

Israel's easing of its Gaza blockade is "a positive, but insufficient step," the Turkish foreign ministry said Tuesday, with Israel's one-time ally calling for it to be totally lifted.

"Turkey considers that Israel's inhuman blockade of Gaza represents a threat to regional peace and stability and considers that the blockade must be entirely lifted," the ministry said in a statement.

"The easing of the Gaza blockade and allowing of imports needed by the population are considered to be a positive but insufficient step," it added.

The ministry insisted that Israel let construction materials into Gaza for the reconstruction of infrastructure after damage caused by an Israeli offensive in late 2008 and early 2009.

Israel announced on Sunday it would allow the import of strictly "civilian" goods, but will restrict "problematic dual-use" items — thought to include construction materials that can be used to build rockets and bunkers. Israel did not mention allowing exports out of Gaza.

The new policy follows mounting international pressure in the wake of a May 31 Israeli commando raid that killed eight Turkish activists and one American citizen of Turkish descent aboard a flotilla of aid ships on a blockade-busting bid.

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