ANKARA (AFP) - Turkish President Abdullah Gul defended his governments criticism of Israel on Sunday amid a war of words over the Gaza conflict which has soured relations between the regional allies. Gul noted in a television interview that Turkey was one of the rare countries to maintain good relations with both Arab nations and the Jewish state. But that does not mean that Turkey will not raise its voice against mistakes if they are made. ... We should not think that Turkey would keep quiet, he told TRT public television. Gul did not specify the mistakes, but Turkey has repeatedly slammed Israel over the 22-day war in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, launched on December 27 in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian territory. Turkey criticises Israeli policy regarding the Palestinian territories with courage, but this is not bound to shake the foundations of bilateral relations, Gul said. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched on Saturday a new, if veiled, verbal attack on Israel saying: Turkey has never, in its history, been on the side of persecutors, it has always defended the oppressed. Erdogan has been at the forefront of global criticism of the Gaza war, storming out of a debate at the World Economic Forum in January where he told Israeli President Shimon Peres that you know well how to kill people. Relations took another sharp downturn last week when Ankara excluded the Jewish state from annual joint military exercises, prompting a rebuke from the US. In recent days, Israel criticised a Turkish state television series that depicts Israeli soldiers deliberately killing Palestinian children. The spat has prompted a large Israeli cafe chain to stop selling Turkish coffee in its shops until matters improve. A top official at Israels national airline El Al said his employee association and those of several other major Israeli businesses plan to stop subsidising vacations for their workers to Turkey during the Passover holiday next April.