Bin Laden deputy rallies Turks

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Indy Politics

Al-qa'ida's local number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has urged the Turkish people to pressure their government to sever ties with Israel and withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

The release of an audio recording, whose authenticity could not be verified, coincides with deteriorating Turkish-Israeli relations.

"The Turkish people should take the responsibility for stopping their government from continuing to recognise those who plundered Palestine," Zawahiri said in the recording. Speaking in Arabic, he urged Turks to put a halt to their government's help to "the Crusaders in the killing of Muslims in Afghanistan".

Zawahiri said the Turkish people should carry out their historic role "as the defender of Islam and protector of Muslims".