A number of news websites have picked up on Lebanese newspaper al-Mustaqbal’s claim that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to travel to Gaza himself to break Israel’s blockade the Palestinian territory.
Ynet news translates the story which states;
“As part of the open conflict between Turkey and Israel following the massacre against the ‘freedom sail’ to Gaza and the protest sparked in the world, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is considering going to Gaza himself in order to break the blockade imposed on the Strip.”
Al-Mustaqbal also reports that Erdogan has informed the US Administration of his plan to send a Turkish naval escort with another flotilla of aid, but that the Americans have requested the Prime Minister delay the escalation.
It is not clear whether Erdogan would actually board the flotilla himself, but Al-Mustaqbal (Future) newspaper describes the source of the story as “knowledgeable”.
The prospect of the naval confrontation between Turkey and Israel is a dangerous escalation of the crisis, potentially resulting in open conflict between the two states, which could easily draw in Israel’s traditional enemies.
The move could be seen as an attempt by Turkey to force the hand of the UN and US to act on the Israeli blockade of Gaza.