By Emre Peker and Jonathan Ferziger -Bloomberg News
â€œFrom tomorrow we will have downgraded our diplomatic ties to second-secretary level,â€ Erdogan said today at a news conference in Ankara. â€œAt the same time, their diplomats inÂ Turkey have been downgraded and we are suspending all defense industry ties including trade ties and military ties.â€
A decision on whether to visit Gaza, the seaside Palestinian territory ruled by the militant Islamic Hamas movement, will be made after arriving in Egypt, Erdogan said.
Turkey suspended military relations with Israel last week and expelled Israelâ€™s ambassador over Israeli Prime MinisterÂ Benjamin Netanyahuâ€™s refusal to apologize for the deaths of activists on a ship that sought to break an embargo last year and take aid supplies to the Gaza Strip.
Israel says its soldiers were attacked by activists aboard the Mavi Marmara and released video footage to support the assertion. Passengers say Israeli troops fired first.
Erdogan said Turkey will also step up its naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, the region where the Turkish-flagged Mavi-Marmara was boarded.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-06/turkey-s-erdogan-reduces-ties-with-israel.html
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