Eastern Mediterranean warming for war. Economically depressed Greece and isolated Israel squaring up to swaggering Turkey. There is no way Israel will allow anyone to break its legitimate blockade, so if the Turks insist on the escort, its literally war.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country will in future escort aid ships travelling to the Gaza Strip.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Mr Erdogan also said Turkey had taken steps to prevent Israel unilaterally exploiting natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
He spoke amid a growing row over Israel’s refusal to apologise for a deadly raid on an aid ship last year.
Turkey has already cut military ties and expelled Israel’s ambassador.
It has also said it will challenge Israel’s blockade of Gaza at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Relations between Turkey and Israel have worsened since Israeli forces boarded the Mavi Marmara aid ship in May last year as it was heading for Gaza. Nine Turkish activists were killed during the raid.
Israel has refused to apologise and said its troops acted in self-defence.
In his comments to Al-Jazeera, Mr Erdogan said Turkish warships were “authorised to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza”.
“From now on, we will not let these ships to be attacked by Israel, as what happened with the Freedom Flotilla,” he said, referring to the Mavi Marmara incident.
Last time the USA talked them down. Next time Erdogan, who is hardening in his extremism now that he has cowed the Turkish generals, may actually instigate an armed conflict.
If he does, the Turks will go the same way as all the previous attackers of Israel: To the annals of defeat.