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Turkish Foreign Minister In Israel

4 January 2005 -- Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is in Israel today at the start of a two-day visit.

Today, Gul meets Israeli President Moshe Katsav, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. Talks are expected to focus on bilateral ties, peace prospects with the Palestinians, as well as other regional issues. Tomorrow Gul will meet with Palestinian leaders.

Israel and Turkey have strong trade relations as well as close military ties. However last May Israeli officials were surprised when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of state terrorism in an interview with Israel's "Ha'aretz" newspaper. Asked whether he considered Israel's actions against the Palestinians "state terrorism," Erdogan answered "how else can you interpret it?"