Turkish PM to Join Gaza Aid Vessel with Naval Force
ISTANBUL: Turk Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was considering sailing to the Gaza Strip as part of an aid flotilla backed by the Turkish Navy.
Lebanese newspaper al Mustaqbal quoted security sources as saying that Mr Erdogan was pondering the move in order to break the barrier imposed against Gaza by Israel.
It said that “as part of the open conflict between Turkey and Israel following the massacre against the ‘freedom sail’ to Gaza and the protest sparked in the world, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is considering going to Gaza himself in order to break the blockade imposed on the Strip.”
The sources said Erdogan raised the option in discussions with associates.
The report added that the Turkish leader also told the U.S. that he planned to ask his navy to escort another aid flotilla – but officials in Washington asked him to delay the plan in order to look into the matter.
The move followed strong criticism of Israel by Erdogan after Israeli armed forces killed several people on board an aid flotilla Monday, sparking widespread international condemnation.
When the possibility of Erdogan joining a flotilla was posed to Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, he said such a move was not a “realistic scenario” and dismissed it outright.
“Some of these reports must be taken with a grain of salt … I am not sure that is a realistic scenario,” he told Sky News.
“I prefer that we sort these things out peacefully. Nobody wants any saber-rattling. It does not do any good,” said Regev.