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Iran Ups Criticism of Turkey over NATO Missile Shield

Iran toughened Thursday its criticism of Turkey over its plan to host early-warning radar as part of NATO's missile defense system, saying it will create tension and lead to "complicated consequences."

"We expect friendly countries and neighbors ... not to promote policies that create tension, which will definitely have complicated consequences," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in remarks carried by the state television website.

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Barak Stresses Crisis with Turkey 'Will Pass'

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak played down the diplomatic crisis with Ankara on Thursday, saying the current dispute over a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish-led flotilla "will pass."

But he reiterated his government's line that Israel not apologize for the May 2010 operation which targeted a flotilla of ships trying to break Israel's naval blockade on Gaza, and cost the lives of nine Turkish nationals.

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Turkey PM to Embark on Arab Spring Tour Next Week

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to embark on a tour of Arab Spring countries next week including Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, a government official said.

"The prime minister had already planned a visit to Egypt but negotiations and preparations are under way for this trip to include Tunisia and Libya as well," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Agence France Presse on Wednesday.

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Israel Says No Turkey apology, lifting of Gaza Blockade

Israel will not apologize to Turkey for a deadly May 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla and will not lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, an Israeli minister insisted on Wednesday, as ties with Ankara sank to new lows.

"Israel defends its interests and its government will not apologize," said Israel Katz, Israel's transport minister and a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.

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Turkey Freezes All Ties with Israel

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a total freeze on military and trade ties with Israel and threatened Tuesday to visit Gaza as the one-time allies' diplomatic spat intensified.

Only hours after Israel said the continued presence of its defense attache at the embassy in Ankara indicated there was no definitive break with Turkey, Erdogan declared a suspension to all military and commercial relations.

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Jumblat: Turkey’s Position on Israel to Alter Regional Balance of Power

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat praised on Monday Turkey’s expulsion of the Israeli Ambassador to Ankara, saying that this step reasserts Turkey’s support for the Palestinian cause.

He said in his weekly editorial in the PSP-affiliated al-Anbaa magazine: “This is a positive step that will help the regional balance of power and the changes being made to it.”

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40 Israelis Held for Questioning at Turkish Airport

Forty Israeli passengers on a Turkish flight to Istanbul were held for an hour and a half upon arrival and questioned before being released, the Israeli foreign ministry said on Monday.

The incident came as tensions between the former allies reached new heights over a deadly May 2010 Israeli raid on a flotilla of ships that left nine Turkish citizens dead.

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Israel Seeks Calm with Turkey, But Not at Any Price

Israel wants to calm a fierce row that has erupted with one-time ally Turkey over a 2010 raid on an aid flotilla, but not at any cost, including issuing an apology, ministers and officials said Sunday.

In recent days, ties between the once-friendly nations appear to have plumbed new depths, with Ankara expelling Israel's ambassador and suspending military agreements in the wake of a U.N. report on the deadly 2010 raid.

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Ban: Improvement of Turkish-Israeli Ties Important for Peace Process

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Saturday said he sincerely hoped that Israel and Turkey could improve ties, saying both states were critical to improving stability in the Middle East.

"I sincerely hope that Israel and Turkey will improve their relationship," Ban told reporters in Canberra after Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador to Ankara and suspended all military ties with its one-time ally.

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Israel Will Not Apologize for Flotilla Raid

Israel will not apologize for its deadly 2010 raid on a Turkish-led flotilla of Gaza aid ships, an Israeli diplomatic source said Friday after a U.N. report accused the Jewish state of using excessive force.

"Israel once again expresses its regrets for the loss of human life but there will be no apology for this operation," the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

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