Cameron says Gaza a "prison camp"

By Jennifer Lipman, July 27, 2010
David Cameron made the comments on a visit to Turkey

David Cameron made the comments on a visit to Turkey

David Cameron has harshly criticised the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Prime Minister, speaking during a visit to Turkey, said: "Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp."

Last month Israel substantially relaxed restrictions on what could be brought into the area.

In remarks which will endear him to his Turkish hosts but enrage Israel, Mr Cameron also told an audience of businessmen in Ankara that Israel’s response to the Gaza-bound flotilla had been “completely unacceptable”.

He called for a speedy and transparent Israeli inquiry into the incident, which left nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists dead. However, he stopped short of calling for an international probe.

Soon after the incident Mr Cameron told Parliament that what had happened was “unacceptable” but stressed that he remained a “friend of Israel”.

The Prime Minister used his visit to encourage the European Union to accept a Turkish membership bid, something generally opposed by France and Germany.

The EU has just agreed new sanctions against the Iranian nuclear programme, and Mr Cameron said Turkey was a key ally for them to work.

He said: "We need Turkey's help in making it clear to Iran just how serious we are about engaging fully with the international community.”

Watch Cameron's comments here

Last updated: 4:36pm, July 27 2010