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Turkey accepts Israel's offer of earthquake aid

    President Abdullah Gul
    President Abdullah Gul

    Turkey has accepted Israel's offer of foreign aid in the wake of an earthquake in the east of the country.

    Following the disaster, Israeli President Shimon Peres telephoned his Turkish counterpart, President Abdullah Gul and offered to send search-and-rescue teams, food, medicine, medical staff and equipment.

    With offers of aid coming in from around the world, including Armenia and Japan, Turkey at first said it did not need foreign assistance.

    But with the death toll at more than 400 and tens of thousands of people without homes, Turkey has reconsidered.

    Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said that Israel would respond to Turkey's request for caravans to house survivors.

    A civilian Boeing 747 is understood to have left Israel for Turkey, with other planes to follow.

    Relations between the two countries have cooled in recent months in light of Turkish demands for an Israeli apology over the clashes on a Gaza-bound flotilla last year.

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