A senior commander in the the Israeli military has stated that he believes that action taken by the Turkish government in protecting an upcoming flotilla to Gaza would be considered an act of war.Major General (Res.) Uzi Dayan stated, whilst speaking with the army radio station that, âIf he [Prime Minister Erdogan] comes here with Turkish warships there can be no doubt that it would amount to a declaration of war. We need to draw a clear line and say that whoever crosses it will not be boarded but sunk.’
The Major Generalâs comments come in response to a report issued in Lebanon, on Saturday, saying that the Turkish PM is considering traveling aboard a Turkish Navy vessel in support of a forthcoming flotilla to Gaza, in another attempt to break the Israeli siege that has been in place since 2006 and tightened in 2007.
Major General Amos Gilad, who heads the defense ministry’s policy unit, has called for a de-escalation of the remarks made by his colleagues, saying that, âwe need to act with judgment and avoid calling a democratically elected leader a terrorist.â
The Turkish government has been unequivocal in its condemnation of the action taken by the Israeli Navy in capturing the group of ships traveling to deliver aid to Gaza, known as the Freedom Flotilla, and the subsequent events that left dozens injured and at least nine dead.
Three of the six vessels that made the initial trip bore the Turkish flag and the majority of the wounded and dead were Turkish.
The Turkish government has taken many steps in the last week including recalling their ambassador to Israel, and calling for an international investigation into the actions of the Israeli navy one week ago.
This follows a strained 18 months for the relations between Turkey and Israel following the Israeli war on Gaza Strip, December 2008 – January 2009. Turkey was once Israelâs closest ally in the Middle East, with the two countries providing military aid for one another.
Tensions have risen following a number of incidents including Erdogan storming out of an International conference in January 2009 stating, in reference to Israel, âwhen it comes to killing you know very well how to kill. I know very well how you killed children on the beaches.â