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US says Turkish rhetoric on Israel is 'unhelpful'

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[November 21, 2012]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is criticizing its NATO ally Turkey for "extremely harsh" rhetoric in accusing Israel of terrorism in its current military operations in Gaza.

The State Department said Tuesday that such language is "not helpful" to efforts to end the conflict there. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that message had been delivered to Turkish officials within the past 24 hours.

Turkey's prime minister has accused Israel's leaders of trying to eliminate the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip through ethnic cleansing and terrorism. Israel says its actions are aimed at halting rocket attacks into Israeli territory from Gaza by Hamas militants and other groups.

Nuland spoke as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was heading to the Mideast while violence raged even as cease-fire talks were under way in Egypt.

[Associated Press; By MATTHEW LEE]

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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