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FILE PHOTO: A construction site is seen in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, in the occupied West Bank December 22, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

(reuters_tickers)

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday condemned Israel's decision to ramp up settlements in the West Bank as an "absolute provocation".

Israel announced plans last month for 3,000 more settlement homes in the occupied West Bank. It has also retroactively legalised about 4,000 settlement homes built on privately owned Palestinian land, a move that brought condemnation from the United Nations and the European Union.

Erdogan made the comment in a speech in Bahrain, while on an official visit. His comments were carried live on Turkish television. Turkey and Israel normalised ties last year after a six-year rupture when 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed by Israeli commandos enforcing a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by David Dolan)

Reuters