The decision “raises the risk of a naval confrontation between the two powers,” and that’s exactly the idea. One must remember that all of this high-stakes brinkmanship stems from Turkey’s demand for an apology, though it’s not really about the apology. It is about boosting Turkey’s credentials among Islamic countries, and attempting to isolate and de-legitimize Israel.
“Turkey raising naval presence amid tension with Israel,” by Pinar Aydinli for Reuters, September 6:
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey is freezing defense trade with Israel and stepping up naval patrols in the eastern Mediterranean, highlighting a potentially destabilizing rift between the two major U.S. allies in the Middle East.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s threat on Tuesday to send warships into waters where Israel’s navy operates raises the risk of a naval confrontation between the two powers.
“The eastern Mediterranean is not a strange place to us. Aksaz and Iskenderun — these places have the power and opportunity to provide escorts,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara, referring to two Turkish naval bases. “Of course our ships will be seen much more frequently in those waters.”
Ties with Israel began to unravel after Erdogan voiced outrage at an Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip, ruled by the Palestinian Islamist Hamas group, in late 2008 and early 2009.
Before that Turkey and Israel had worked closely together on military cooperation and intelligence sharing, as both had sought reliable partners in a volatile neighborhood.
The increasing Islamization of Turkey has correlated with a dimmer outlook for its long-term stability, and an increase in the rash, confrontational policy-making we are observing now.
Asked about Erdogan’s remarks, an Israeli government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Israel does not want to see further deterioration in its relationship with Turkey.”
On Friday, Turkey announced it was expelling Israel’s ambassador and other senior diplomats, downgrading relations after the release of a U.N. report on the killing of nine Turks during an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla that aimed to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza last year.
Israel’s refusal to apologize for the deaths has angered Turkey, a NATO member with the bloc’s second biggest military….