A recent Haaretz report says that Turkish officials told Hurriyet Daily News that Turkish navy will strengthen presence in eastern Mediterranean Sea to stop Israeli ‘bullying’. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in an interview with public television that “There is no risk of a naval confrontation, I don’t think for a moment that Turkish war-ships will escort boats trying to run the blockade of Gaza,” he said, adding Israel would keep the blockade in place.
The semi-official Turkish daily Hürriyet reports officials from the Foreign Ministry commenting on the foreign policy changes introduced by Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s statements made yesterday. The time of Israeli naval forces’ “bullying” practices in eastern Mediterranean international waters will be over, the sources said, pointing to the Foreign Minister’s declaration yesterday that “Turkey would take every precaution it deems necessary for the safety of maritime navigation in the eastern Mediterranean.”
Turkish diplomats told the Hürriyet Daily News that the Turkish Navy would become a frequent presence in eastern Mediterranean international waters through regular patrolling and Turkish naval vessels would be used as escorts to ships carrying aid to the Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip. In this context Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that he is planning to visit the Gaza Strip in the near future, as a step “to draw the world’s attention to what is going on in Gaza and to push the international community to end the unfair embargo imposed by Israel”, as an official in the Foreign Ministry explained.
The Turkish Navy would also move to ensure free navigation in the waters between Cyprus and Israel – a maritime area that became the subject of recent diplomatic hassle between Ankara and Nicosia over the latter’s deep-sea gas drilling joint-venture projects with Israel and US companies. Yesterday the Turkish Minister for European Union issues, Egemen Bagis, warned that if Nicosia did not cancel the project before a solution to the problem of divided Cyprus is found, the project would be seen as encroaching on Turkey’s security interests and therefore, if need be, the Navy might be called upon to intervene.EUTimes.net