Top diplomats are putting pressure on Turkey and Israel to make up after Ankara's decision to expel the Jewish state's ambassador in retaliation for last year's deadly Gaza flotilla raid.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, senior European foreign ministers and officials in Washington all urged the one-time allies to end their increasingly poisonous dispute that they worried could impact on the wider Middle East.

However, there seemed little prospect of an immediate end to their dispute as Turkey's foreign minister indicated that a legal challenge to Israel's naval blockade of Gaza would be launched in a matter of days.

Ban Ki-moon said he had been trying to help the countries improve their relationship since May 2010 when Israeli troops boarded a Gaza aid flotilla, leading to the deaths of nine people including eight Turks.

Turkey pulled its ambassador out of Tel Aviv in the immediate aftermath of the raid but yesterday Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said ties would be further downgraded after a UN probe slammed the "excessive" force used in the raid, for which Israel has failed to apologise.

As well as announcing the Israeli ambassador Gaby Levy was being expelled, Mr Davutoglu also said all bilateral military agreements were suspended.

Mr Davutoglu spent Saturday with EU counterparts who sent a clear message they wanted an end to the spat.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Berlin was "very worried by the recent dispute", urging immediate dialogue by "all parties".

There were also similar calls to mend fences from Washington.

But in comments carried by Turkey's Anatolia news agency, Mr Davutoglu said Ankara planned to send a request next week to the International Court of Justice, the UN's highest court, to consider the legality of the naval blockade of Gaza.

UN reports find Israeli actions were “excessive”

The Turkish measures came after a UN-mandated report criticised Israeli troops for using "excessive" and "unreasonable" force when boarding the Mavi Marmara vessel on 31 May, 2010.

It added, however, that the flotilla "acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade" and the Israeli forces "faced significant, organised and violent resistance from a group of passengers".

Turkey has repeatedly said relations between the two countries will not return to normal unless Israel apologises and compensates the victims, which it refuses to do.

The report has also upset the Palestinians as it endorsed the legality of Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, which the Jewish state says is necessary to prevent the ruling Islamist movement Hamas from obtaining weapons.