PM Erdogan: Turkish warships to help break Gaza blockade
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.
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Assuming he’s not just blowing smoke, this is not going anywhere good. If there’s actual military escort, then Israel will not have the option of boarding the ships with intent to do as little harm as possible; it’ll come down to a choice between letting the ships through and sinking them. If they can ensure that there aren’t heavy weapons on these ships, letting them through might actually be a better idea, but that’s not going anywhere good in the future either.
Erdogan is trying to set up a war between Israel and NATO. Don’t think it couldn’t happen.
NATO would be obliged to come to Turkey’s aid under Article 5: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”
It is commonly believed that the Turkish military authorities are friendly and sympathetic to Israel. It is also commonly believed that Erdogan has sanitized the Turkish high command, replacing secularists with Islamists.
Whether he is jockeying for a position of leadership over and against Iran’s Ahmadinejad, or whether he is planning to join Ahmadinejad’s horde, we soon shall see.
It might be more tahn a bit hard to get NATO to respond if Turkey tries to run a “legal” blockage of Gaza.
Doubt if that NATO would come to the aid of Turkey in this instance. Turkey would be attempting an aggressive act, trying to break a blockade by Israel, which has been ruled a legal blockade, and if memory serves me correctly, NATO only would come to the aid of a member nation which has been attacked.
I hope Erdogan is bluffing but who really knows. One of the nightmare scenarios of past years was that Turkey would engage Israel in war. Turkey, IMHAO, is perhaps the only Middle Eastern country in the region that could truly threaten Israel. Turkish Army used to be first rate and its Air Force pretty good too; no idea how good its naval arm is. Still, Israel would come out on top yet that engagement would be very bloodly.
Things are becoming way too interesting these days!
NATO has proven itself to be a paper tiger, given that it was out of missiles for its planes 48 hours after it started its war against Libya. The only country in the alliance with enough would be the United States and despite Barry’s antipathy towards Israel, he needs the Jewish vote and Jewish campaign donations if he has any chance of winning reelection.
So I think that Turkey will be left twisting in the wind if it confronts Israel. And that, I hope, might prove to be the unwinding of NATO.
NATO ain’t going to war with Isreal over this. Isn’t going to happen. It might serve, however, to help splinter a military coalition that seems to have lost much of its coherence of purpose and desired common ends, and is ever increasingly looking like a paper tiger. Which, if you’re an islamist, would be a good thing.
The US can stand without Western Europe. They’re easy pickings without us. Divide and conquer as the long game?
When even the OIC recognizes that it is not necessary to run the blockade, you know that humanitarian aid is available.
Cyprus (the Greek portion) is slated to the next EU presidency in their revolving succession. This might be playing a role in the timing.
Erdogan is playing a reckless game – fostering multiple threats to his east and south(Greece, Cyprus, Israel) while he has a restive Kurdish population in the west, and he is doing so without the benefit of seasoned military advice.
I think the Turkish Navy needs to tell Erdogan one firm rule of this.
“You are on the first ship and you open fire before us.”
It’s a certain money bet that any Turkish ship opening fire will be finding the sea floor in short order.
If he’s not willing to face the consequences of a suicide mission with his own life then the Turks need to go back home and toss him out of office and into the sea on his own.
What’s Turkish for “cement shoes”?
The score at the end of the first quarter will be Israel 31, Turkey 6.
Hey! Let’s get Heraldo on one of the Turkish ships! He can do a live, blow -by-blow!
They are running out of Trout Meuniere and Rouelles de Vea Bourgeoise at the Roots restaurant in Gaza. Erdogan is on the case.
I guess the flotillas act as lifelines when propaganda is your staple, but plenty of traditional aid flows through Israel to Gaza.
It’s important for sub crews to participate in realistic operations as often as possible. Apparently Erdogan is doing his best to ensure the IN stays sharp and combat-ready. And how nice of Turkey to volunteer a few vessel drones for target practice. Up scope! Mark!
I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of ships that develop “engine problems” and “prop damage” not to mention lawsuits and maybe even a few clandestine raids.
Plus, all Israel has to do is patrol 3 miles out. That’s a sovereign right of all nations; to protect their borders.
If it was me, I’d announce that Israel will be holding live fire maneuvers in the area which will include the laying of mines.
Let the Turks think about that.
I cannot imagine it will get that far. Someone in the Turkish Navy will sit down with the man and the conversation will go like this. “Erdo, if we end up losing one great big Turkish war ship and a bunch of our good Navy people to one little Israeli torpedo – you’re term as PM is going to go down with that ship.”
I promise you, Erdo will then sit down and think about it (for about 5 minutes) and he will elect to take some other course of action.
You are “probably” correct, but I have scant confidence Erdogan is that easy to persuade. Methinks it might take more than that from smarter Turks than he to derail his intentions.
The senior commanders of the Turkish military have mostly resigned or been purged; those who remain are there for their political reliability. If Erdogan wants a conflict, they will give it to them.
Awful lot of triumphalism going on here . . . Israel may very well come out on top of any skirmish here, but the fact of a skirmish would be a loss regardless of the outcome, because the fact of a skirmish would mean that the most powerful Muslim nation in the region is overtly and militarily hostile to Israel for the first time in history. This changes the balance of power and the potential order of battle in a decidedly negative way . . .
Triumphalism? Maybe but so what? Yes it’s a bad thing what the Turks say they’re going to do. Yes Israel won’t be excused for acting as any other country would under the same conditions.
That’s NOT Israel fault though and that means a lot.
We’re expressing in words what our prayers are filled with; Please stop this assault on Israel. Please let there be NO casualties. Please let the Turks finally see reason.
If that is not possible then please let Israel triumph over her enemies with as little bloodshed as possible but triumph she must.
So, if Erdo goes along with one great big Turkish Navy ship, that may not be too bad after all. I know a lot of Turks. They are very proud people. That type of loss will not go down well with them.
Quick question…when was the last time Turkey won a naval engagement with a major power? It has been a while hasn’t it?
I think Israel should call his bluff and declare that any attempt to follow up on these words would constitute an act of war. If the Turkish military tries to run the blockade, the IDF will start bombing in 24 hours. Who cares what Europe thinks.