Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Source: Press TV
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the country's navy will patrol the Mediterranean to prevent Israel from assaulting ships in the international waters.
"Israel will no longer be able to do what it wants in the Mediterranean and you'll be seeing Turkish warships in this sea," Erdogan said after a meeting with his Tunisian counterpart Beji Caid Essebsi, AFP reported.
The Turkish leader also reiterated Ankara's call on Israel to formally apologize for last year's deadly takeover of a Gaza-bound aid convoy.
On May 31, 2010, Israel navy commandos launched a deadly attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla while it was sailing in international wasters on a mission to break Tekl Aviv's siege on the Gaza Strip.
The strike left nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists, including a Turkish-American teenager, killed and dozens of others wounded.
"Relations with Israel cannot normalize if Israel does not apologize over the flotilla attack, compensate the martyrs' families and lift the blockade of Gaza," the Turkish prime minister stated.
On September 8, Erdogan said Turkey had taken steps to stop the Israeli regime 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...From now on, we will not let these ships to be attacked by Israel, as what happened with the Freedom Flotilla," he said.
Tel Aviv has refused to apologize for the last May bloodshed, prompting Ankara to expel the Israeli ambassador and cut all bilateral military ties with Israel.
Turkey has also vowed to take action at the International Court of Justice in The Hague to challenge Tel Aviv's four-year siege of Gaza. The blockade has been preventing the flow of food, medicine, and other basic supplies into the impoverished coastal territory.