I wasn’t sure Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan really would follow through on threats of a military confrontation with Israel over the Gaza blockade, but the recent U.N. panel decision upholding the legality of the blockade over Turkish protests seems to have sent Erdogan off the rails.
Turkey just announced that it’s military ships will escort and protect ships seeking to break the Israeli blockade:
Turkey said on Thursday it would escort aid ships to Gaza and would not allow a repetition of last year’s Israeli raid that killed nine Turks, setting the stage for a potential naval confrontation with its former ally.
Raising the stakes in Turkey’s row withIsrael over its refusal to apologize for the killings, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Al Jazeera television that Turkey had taken steps to stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting natural resources in the Mediterranean.
“Turkish warships, in the first place, are authorized to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Erdogan said in the interview, broadcast by Al Jazeera with an Arabic translation.
“From now on, we will not let these ships to be attacked by Israel, as what happened with the Freedom Flotilla,” Erdogan said.
With Erdogan, it’s hard to know if he is just blowing off the steam coming from his ego, or is serious. If serious, he has set his country on course for a futile military confrontation.