Turkish warships to head for Gaza - report

Turkish newspaper "Sabah": If frigates meet an Israeli ship outside Israel's territorial waters, they will disable its weapons.

The Turkish navy is preparing to send three warships to the Eastern Mediterranean to defend ships carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, Turkish newspaper "Sabah" reported today.

According to "Sabah," if the Turkish warships encounter an Israeli military ship outside Israel's 12-mile territorial waters, they will advance up to within 100 meters of the the ship and disable its weapon system. The Turkish newspaper said that such a confrontation would resemble dogfights in the Aegean Sea with Greek jet fighters.

The report comes in the wake of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's announcement that Turkish warships will escort civilian aid ships headed to Gaza, to prevent a repetition of last year's Israeli raid on Mavi Marmara, when eight Turks were killed as the IDF boarded the boat.

Turkey has imposed sanctions on Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to apologize for the 2010 incident. Earlier this month, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara and other senior diplomats, and suspended military and other government trade agreements with Israel.

"Sabah" quotes Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor as saying that Erdogan's remarks were “harsh and serious,” but stressed that Israel was not interested in a war of words with its once-close ally. “Our silence is the best response. I hope this phenomenon will pass,” Meridor said.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 12, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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