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Turkey closes airspace to Israeli military after raid on Gaza flotilla

turkey has closed its airspace to some Israeli military flights following a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship, the Turkish Prime Minister and officials said yesterday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Toronto that Turkey imposed a ban on Israeli flights after the raid on 31 May on a Turkish ship that was part of a six-vessel international aid flotilla, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency. The Prime Minister, who is at the G20 summit in Canada, did not elaborate.

A Turkish government official said, however, that the ban was for Israeli military flights and that commercial flights were not affected. It was not a blanket ban and each flight request would be assessed case-by-case, the official added. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Sunday, Israel's Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported that Turkey had not allowed a plane carrying Israeli military officers, en route to a tour of memorial sites in Auschwitz, Poland, to fly over Turkish airspace.

The transport plane, with more than 100 officers on board, was forced to make a detour. The Israeli military "refrained from responding officially to the event so not to exacerbate the rift in relations", the newspaper added.