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Syria, Turkey Break Off Talks with Israel Because of Gaza Op.

Erdogan calls the attack on Gaza "a crime against humanity" and "a sign of disrespect towards Turkey". Arab League demands emergency UNSC session.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/28/2008, 5:24 PM

Syria notified Turkey on Sunday that it was ceasing all indirect negotiations with Israel following the Air Force operation against Hamas installations in Gaza, according to Turkish sources cited by the Syrian Cham Press news agency. Last week, Syria said it was suspending the talks pending elections in Israel and the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States.

Cham Press added that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also suspending his contacts with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. In confirming Sunday's report, Erdogan called the Israeli air strikes "a blow to the peace initiative at a time when we're making significant efforts on its behalf."

Erdogan called the attack on Gaza "a crime against humanity" and called for it to end immediately. He called the Gaza operation "a sign of disrespect towards Turkey."

Hundreds demonstrated in front of the Israel embassy in Turkey Sunday and burned a wooden Star of David.

Four rounds of indirect talks between Syria and Israel have been held with Turkish mediation in the past year, but the talks were suspended when Olmert announced his resignation. Nevertheless, Olmert has continued to refer to the talks with pride as a significant achievement of his government with important potential. Last week he visited Turkey and held talks on the subject with Erdogan.

Arab League convening UNSC
The Arab League is working to convene an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council. The League's Ambassador to the UN, Yihya Almahsani, said that he expects the session to take place later Sunday, in order to discuss "the crimes being perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinians." He said that the Arab League would demand steps to halt Israeli attacks completely and immediately.