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Countries line up to slam Israel at Asian security summit

By Ivan Watson, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Ahmadinejad waves 'V' for victory sign to journalists at photo opportunity
  • Countries attack Israel at summit in Turkey
  • Turkey is demanding probe into deadly shooting on aid ship destined for Gaza
  • 8 Turks and a Turkish-American citizen were killed after Israeli commandos raided ships

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) -- A conference called "Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia" has turned into a high-profile international platform for the host country, Turkey, to condemn conference member Israel.

The conference, which began Tuesday, follows last week's Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla destined for Gaza that resulted in the shooting deaths of eight Turks and a Turkish-American citizen.

Turkey is demanding an international investigation into the incident, which ruptured already fraying ties with its one-time military and economic partner Israel.

At a press conference here Tuesday morning, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated the Turks for taking a stand against his arch-rival Israel and its three-year blockade of Gaza.

"Within the Zionist regime, with what it has done, it has actually rang the final countdown for its existence," he said. "It shows that it has no room in the region and no one is ready to live alongside it. Actually no country in the world recognizes it and you know that the Zionist regime is the backbone of the dictatorial world order. When it is affected as a matter of fact, that tyrannical rule is falling apart."

Later, Ahmadinejad waved a "V" for victory sign to journalists after a "family gathering" photo opportunity for the leaders of delegations at the summit.

Ahmadinejad took a spot in the front row for the photo, alongside other heads of state and governments, including Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Turkish President Abdullah Gul, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Already, a growing chorus of voices at the summit have lined up to criticize Israel.

In a joint statement on Tuesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al Assad took turns accusing Israel of "state terrorism."

Over the course of the last week, Erdogan has repeatedly vowed to bring up Turkey's anger with Israel over the aid convoy shooting at every international summit he attends.

Israel, in the meantime, opted not to send Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor to the conference, as was originally planned. Israel's ambassador to Ankara, Gabby Levy, is instead expected to be represented at the meeting.

 
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