Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey is totally suspending military and commercial ties with Israel and will impose further sanctions on the Jewish state after it refused to apologize for a bloody takeover of an aid ship in eastern Mediterranean last year, which resulted in the deaths of eight Turks and one Turkish American, Turkish newspapers repoeted on Tuesday..
Erdoğan also said Turkey’s warships will be seen “more frequently” in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Israel has always acted like a spoiled boy in the face of all UN decisions concerning itself. It assumed that it will continue to act like a spoiled boy and will get away with it,” Erdoğan told reporters: “If measures taken so far are part of a Plan B, there will also be a Plan C. Different steps will be taken depending on the course of developments… We are totally suspending our commercial ties, military and defense ties. They are being frozen entirely,” he added.
Update: The Turkish economy minister later in the day siad that Turkey is ot considering to cut commercial ties with Israel, only all trade in the fiedl of defense industry. The minbister called Erdogan's remark 'a slip of the tongue'.
Asked to elaborate on promised steps to ensure freedom of navigation in the eastern Mediterranean, which observers say could mean clashes with Israel in the international waters, Erdoğan said: “Eastern Mediterranean is no stranger to us. Our ships will be seen more frequently in those waters.”
The Turkish government on Friday announced a set of sanctions against Israel, including further downgrading relations to second secretary level -- which effectively meant expelling of senior-level Israeli diplomats -- and taking measures for freedom of navigation in the eastern Mediterranean, after Israel made clear that it would not apologize for the May 31, 2010 raid.
Turkey scaled down its relations with Israel after the raid on the ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of an international aid flotilla that was trying to breach an Israeli blockade of Gaza, and said relations could return to normal only if Israel offers a formal apology for the killings and pays compensation to families of the victims. However, Israel refused, saying its soldiers acted in self-defense and months-long diplomatic efforts to mend relations failed to produce an agreement.
A UN panel set up to investigate the deadly takeover repeatedly delayed releasing its findings to give more time to Turkish-Israeli efforts to heal relations. The UN released findings of the panel last weekend, saying the Israeli soldiers used “excessive and unreasonable” force against passengers of Mavi Marmara but, contrary to what Turkey has argued, it said the Israeli blockade of Gaza was legal.
Erdoğan said the 2010 raid, which took place in international waters in the Mediterranean, was “inhumane” and “an act of state terror and savagery” and asserted that the UN panel’s report “has no value for us.”
Turkey and Israel did just under $3.5 billion worth of trade in 2010, according to official Turkish figures, and trade was up by a quarter in the first six months of this year. The New York Times last year reported that when it comes to defense contracts hard figures are difficult to come by. However, the paper quoted Lale Sariibrahimoglu, the Turkey correspondent for Jane’s Defense Weekly, who said that according toTurkish military sources military trade between the countries totaled around $1.8 billion in 2007. Israel, she says, was second only to the United States as a source of military technology for Turkey.