Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
on Monday said that his country is not seeking a military confrontation with Israel, but stressed that the "Turkish Navy is prepared for every scenario – even the worst one."
In an interview with Egyptian newspaper al-Shuruq, Erdogan – who is currently visiting the north African country – defended his recent comments about deployment of warships
in the Mediterranean: "All we said is that warships will protect Turkish boats from an attack in international waters.
"It's our legitimate right, and no one can deny us. This statement angered Israel,
because it wants to maintain its control over the international waters in the Middle East," Erdogan noted.
The Turkish prime minister dismissed the UN-led Palmer Report,
which determined that Israel's blockade on Gaza was legal, calling it "irrelevant."
"The report is worthless; it was released by a non-objective source," Erdogan stressed.
'Israel should have listened to voices of reason.' Erdogan
"Israel has gotten used to getting away with its behavior and regards itself as above the law. It thinks it is exempt from all its mistakes and crimes," the Turkish leader said, adding that "Israel has become a spoiled child, and is not satisfied by the state terrorism it employs against the Palestinians.
"Israel refused to listen to voices of reason from the west, which called it to apologize to Turkey for the killing of its sons. And what did Israel do? Accuse anyone who dares criticize it of anti-Semitism."
Gaza bound? Turkish warships (archives)
Asked whether it was true that Israel's military attaché has refused to leave Ankara, Erdogan said, "It is true, but we will make him leave by diplomatic means, because downgrading the diplomatic mission also includes the military attaché," he said.
Erdogan refused to say whether he had any further measures planned against Israel. "I don't want to put the cart before the horses," he said, "because any such plan is hinged upon Israel's response and its willingness to accept a just solution that will preserve Turkey's honor.
"What I can say is that we are committed to four things: Protecting the rights and honor of the Turkish people, stopping Israel from disregarding international treaties and customs, implementation of Turkish demands through international tribunals and ending the blockade on Gaza."