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In this paper, a new class of codes is presented that features a block-convolutional structure-namely, laminated turbo codes. It allows combining the advantages of both a convolutional encoder memory and a block permutor, thus allowing a block-oriented decoding method. Structural properties of laminated turbo codes are analyzed and upper and lower bounds on free distance are obtained. It is then shown that the performance of laminated turbo codes compares favorably with that of turbo codes. Finally, we show that laminated turbo codes provide high rate flexibility without suffering any significant performance degradation.