Israeli Army commander and top Likud member Uzi Dayan today warned on Israeli Army Radio that Israel would consider any attempt by the Turkish military to protect future aid ships from attack an “act of war.”
Dayan then added that if Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan attempted to accompany the aid ships personally, as he has reportedly considered “we would not try to take over the ship he was on, but would sink it.” He added that Erdogan’s presence on a future aid ship would also be a casus belli for an Israeli war against Turkey.
Turkey has expressed outrage at last week’s Israeli attack on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza, an attack in which Israeli troops killed at least nine civilian aid workers. Israel has insisted that the aid ship was secretly in league with al-Qaeda and has since tried to spin Turkey as the villain for even allowing a ship to try to deliver aid to the besieged strip.
The Israeli killings have only increased the number of groups planning attempts to deliver aid, and Israeli officials have promised to stop all these attempts militarily as well.
The explicit threat of war against Turkey is something new, however. While Israel starts wars with a casualness rarely seen in other nations, an attack on Turkey, a key NATO member with an enormous military, would be something quite different from a month long attack on the Gaza Strip or blowing up metro Beirut with air strikes.