The sources said Erdogan was discussing with Egypt a visit to the Gaza
Strip. They said Israel has already warned Egypt not to allow Erdogan to
enter Gaza, under siege since the Hamas takeover in 2007.
"Turkey has a lot to lose from extreme behavior," Defense Ministry
official Amos Gilad said in an interview with Israel state radio on Sept. 6, Middle East Newsline reported.
The sources said Israel's military has prepared for a halt in
cooperation as well as a confrontation with Turkey. They said Ankara has
blocked all military exercises with Israel and was boycotting maneuvers that
also included the United States.
One prospect was that Turkey, with two naval bases in the Mediterranean,
would work with Egypt to help patrol the region. Erdogan was scheduled to
arrive in Egypt on Sept. 12 in what was termed an effort to launch strategic
"They [Turkish warships] will be seen more frequently in those waters,"
Erdogan said on Sept. 6. "The eastern Mediterranean is not a strange place
In 2011, Egypt and Turkey conducted a maritime security exercise in the
eastern Mediterranean. The sources did not rule out another naval exercise
that would be exploited by Turkey to confront the Israel Navy near the Gaza
"I don't think they would dare to penetrate Israeli waters," former
Israeli Foreign Ministry director-general Alon Liel said.
Turkey has demanded an Israeli apology for the death of eight Turks on
the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, intercepted as it headed for the Gaza
Strip in May 2010. A United Nations report deemed the Israeli interception
legal although the panel determined that the navy used excessive force
against some 60 Islamist fighters armed with metal clubs.
"I'm sorry we reached this point," Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan
Meridor said. "I hope that ultimately the anger will ebb and reason and
interests will prevail."