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Turkish PM calls Israeli raid on Gaza flotilla ship a 'massacre'

Four Turkish citizens were confirmed slain by commandos in an Israeli raid Monday on a relief flotilla ship, bound for the Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian woman sells vegetables in front of shops closed as part of a general strike by Palestinians to protest against the Israeli raid on a flotilla attempting to break the blockade on Gaza, in east Jerusalem, on Tuesday.

Tara Todras-Whitehill/AP

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Turkey's prime minister declared Tuesday that Israel had carried out a "bloody massacre" by killing nine people on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship and said the two countries had reached a turning point in their long-standing alliance.

Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel immediately after the raid, scrapped three joint military exercises and called the U.N. Security Council to an emergency meeting that demanded an impartial investigation.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told lawmakers in the Parliament that the boarding of the Mediterranean flotilla was an attack "on international law, the conscience of humanity and world peace."

"Today is a turning point in history. Nothing will be same again," Erdogan said.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said four Turkish citizens were confirmed slain by Israeli commandos and another five were also believed to be Turks, although Israeli authorities were still trying to confirm their nationalities.

"This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse," Erdogan said, demanding that Israel immediately halt its "inhumane" blockade of Gaza.


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