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Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Photo: EPA

Erdogan: Warships can be in E. Med at any moment

Ankara PM's aggressive rhetoric towards Israel continues during visit to Tunisia, as he warns that Turkish Navy can deploy across eastern Mediterranean at moment's notice

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Israel could not do "whatever it wanted" in the eastern Mediterranean, adding that Turkish warships could be there at any moment.


"Israel cannot do whatever it wants in the eastern Mediterranean. They will see what our decisions will be on this subject.


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"Our navy attack ships can be there at any moment," Erdogan told a news conference on a visit to the Tunisian capital.


Erdogan also spoke of the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey, saying that "Islam and democracy are not contradictory" and reiterating that the only way to normalize the situation is for Israel to offer an official apology for the 2010 raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla.


Turkey, he added, expects Israel to apologize, offer restitution to the fatalities' families and lift the Gaza blockade.


The Turkish prime minister's statement came on the heel of a recent announcement by Ankara officials, saying that Turkish warplanes now sport a new radar system which identifies Israeli targets as hostile, thus essentially allowing them to open fire.


The officials were quoted by Ankara's Star Gazette newspaper, which said that the orders to modify the system reportedly came directly from Erdogan's office.


Israel, meanwhile, has decided not to respond to Erdogan's boisterous rhetoric for the time being.


"We'll let Erdogan lash out some more," a State official said. "Israel has no intention of escalating the situation further, and the person doing this is Erdogan. His statements are a bully's slogans."


AP, Reuters and Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report




פרסום ראשון: 09.15.11, 14:47
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