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Turkish PM Willing to Visit Gaza

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TEHRAN, July 19 (ICANA) – Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed willingness to visit the besieged Gaza Strip as Ankara is considering arrangements for his possible travel.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:21:42 PM
Turkish PM Willing to Visit Gaza

Erdogan said on Tuesday that he was “thinking of visiting Gaza if the conditions allow,” AFP reported.

“The foreign ministry will be working on it. I wish to make such a visit, depending on the outcome,” the Turkish prime minister added.

The exact date of the trip has not yet been determined, but Erdogan said it was likely to take place after a planned visit to Egypt.

The prime minister announced his intention to go to the impoverished enclave shortly after a Turkish official expressed hope that Israel would apologize for an attack on a Gaza-bound humanitarian flotilla that killed nine Turkish activists last year.

Ozdem Sanberk, a member of the UN panel probing the Israeli raid on Freedom Flotilla I, said on Tuesday that he would be “surprised if there were no apologies since both sides have the political will to resolve this crisis.”

“We are heading toward a solution probably toward the end of the month,” Sanberk added.

Last month, Erdogan renewed a call on Israel “to lift as soon as possible the inhumane and unlawful blockade” of Gaza and allow specifically the entry of construction materials to rebuild the infrastructure in the occupied territories damaged during Israel's all-out military offensive on the Gaza Strip at the turn of 2009.

The offensive and its ensuing three-week war killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including many women and children.

In June 2007, Israel laid an economic siege on Gaza after the democratically-elected Hamas lawmakers took over the administration of the enclave.

The blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the impoverished territory.

Israel denies around 1.5 million people in Gaza their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and their rights to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.

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