Erdogan promises navy escort for Gaza aid ships

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Erdogan promises navy escort for Gaza aid ships

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The tension between Turkey and Israel looks likely to move up a further notch following more comments by Turkey’s prime minister.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that in future, the navy will escort any Turkish aid ships heading for Gaza.

He had already announced that all defence ties with Israel were being suspended, and that Turkish military patrols would intensify in the eastern Mediterranean.

All this comes on top of last week’s expulsion of the Israeli ambassador.

Israel has refused to apologise to Ankara over last year’s assault by Israeli commandos on a Turkish aid flotilla seeking to break the Gaza blockade.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed and a UN report found that Israel used “excessive force”.

As relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate, Erdogan also says Turkey intends to stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Foreign Ministry responded to the Turkish premier’s comments by saying “this is a statement well worth not commenting on”, as reported in Israeli media.

Before Erdogan’s latest comments, the Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said he believed the two countries would end up by reconciling with each other rather than becoming enemies.