Ankara: Turkey`s Prime Minister sharply criticized Israel for the "bloody massacre" that killed nine people on a Gaza-bound aid vessel and warned Tuesday that no one should test Turkey`s diplomatic patience.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told lawmakers in the Parliament that the Israeli military action was an attack "on international law, the conscience of humanity and world peace."
"This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse," he said, demanding that Israel immediately halt its "inhumane" blockade of Gaza.
The flotilla was the ninth attempt by sea to breach the three-year-old blockade Israel and Egypt imposed after the militant Hamas group violently seized the Gaza Strip in 2007, home to 1.5 million Palestinians. Israel allowed five seaborne aid shipments to get through but snapped the blockade shut after its 2009 war in Gaza.
"They have once again showed to the world that they know how good they are at killing people," Erdogan said. "Israel in no way can legitimize this murder, it cannot wash its hand of this blood."
Erdogan said Turkey would continue to support the Palestinian people.
"We will not turn our back on Palestine, Palestinians and Gaza," Erdogan said.
"No one should test Turkey`s patience," he added. "Turkey`s hostility is as strong as its friendship is valuable."
He urged Israelis to question the actions of their government.
"It is damaging your country`s image by conducting banditry and piracy," Erdogan said. "It is damaging interests of Israel and your peace and safety. It is the Israeli people who must stop the Israeli government in the first place."
He said Israel cannot face the international community without expressing "regret."
"Israel cannot ensure its security by drawing the hatred of the entire world," the prime minister declared.
Four Turks dead on aid ship: Turkey
Turkey`s Foreign Ministry says four Turkish citizens have been confirmed dead on the aid ship raided by Israeli commandos and another five of the slain are also believed to be Turks.
The ministry said Israeli authorities were still trying to confirm the nationality of the remaining five people killed in Monday`s raid in the Mediterranean.