While Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to arrive in Egypt for a historic visit, daily newspaper Sabah on Monday reported that the Turkish Navy is preparing to deploy three warships in the Mediterranean Sea, in order to "safeguard the freedom of navigation."
According to a report, Turkish navy echelons decided that if one of its ships crosses paths with an Israeli vessel outside of the latter's territorial waters, it will be instructed to come within 100 meters of the ship and neutralize its weapons system.
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Over the weekend, Erdogan ruffled feathers in Israel after he was quoted as saying that Turkish warships will protect boats carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza moving forward.
"Turkish warships, in the first place, are authorized to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza," Erdogan was quoted as saying. "From now on, we will not let these ships to be attacked by Israel, as what happened with the Freedom Flotilla.
The next day, Ankara issued a clarification, claiming the published quotes failed to correctly interpret Erdogan's intention.
"It appeared as if we were offering to have warships escort every aid vessel. This is not true. Turkey will defend the rights of its citizens only when Israel chooses to intervene and prevent free movement in international waters," an official source said.