Sunday, 4 September 2011

In major blow to Israel, Turkish navy to escort civilian ships taking aid to Gaza


The Turkish navy will significantly strengthen its presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea as one of the steps the Turkish government has decided to take following the release of the UN Palmer report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla, Turkish officials told the Hurriyet Daily News.

"The eastern Mediterranean will no longer be a place where Israeli naval forces can freely exercise their bullying practices against civilian vessels," a Turkish official was quoted as saying.

As part of the plan, the Turkish navy will increase its patrols in the eastern Mediterranean and pursue "a more aggressive strategy".

According to the report, Turkish naval vessels will accompany civilian ships carrying aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Another goal of the plan is to ensure free navigation in the region between Cyprus and Israel. The region includes areas where Israel and Cyprus cooperate in drilling for oil and gas.

Additionally, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan instructed his foreign ministry to organize a trip for him to the Gaza Strip in the near future. more