July 11, 2014 5:36 am

Turkey PM rules out ‘normalizing’ ties with Israel as long as Gaza offensive continues

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a press statement in Soma Municipality, Manisa on 14 May, 2014. (Photo by Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says there can be no normalizing of Turkish-Israeli ties as long as Israel continues its offensive in Gaza.

Turkey and Israel have been working toward improving ties that were soured after Israeli commandos stormed a pro-Palestinian ship in 2010, killing eight Turks and one Turkish-American.

Israel apologized to Turkey for the deaths and agreed to pay compensation under a U.S.-brokered arrangement in 2013. Turkish officials said in March the sides were close to reaching a deal to restore ties.

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Erdogan told Israel late Thursday, “You have to end this oppression. As long as it does not end, a normalizing of ties between Turkey and Israel is not possible.”

Erdogan was speaking during his campaign for presidential elections in August.

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