The prime minister, who on Sept. 13, addressed the Arab League, was said
to have ordered his military to prepare for a confrontation with Israel.
Turkey's media said the orders included naval operations along the coast of
the Gaza Strip as well as the development of subsystems for the Air Force's
F-16 multi-role fighter fleet.
"All we said is that warships will protect Turkish boats from an attack
in international waters," Erdogan told the Egyptian daily Al Shurouq.
our legitimate right and no one can deny us. This statement angered Israel,
because it wants to maintain its control over the international waters in
the Middle East."
On Sept. 12, the Turkish daily Sabah reported that the navy has assigned
three ships to patrol the eastern Mediterranean. Sabah said the Turkish
warships would accompany the next flotilla to the Gaza Strip and come within
100 meters of Israel Navy vessels outside of Israeli territorial waters.
Erdogan was also said to have ordered the development of aircraft
systems that could help in any attack on Israel. The Turkish newspaper Daily
Star reported that the state-owned Aselsan has developed a radar to replace
U.S.-origin Identification Friend or Foe system on the F-16.
Turkey, with a fleet of nearly 250 F-16s, has been equipped with IFF
that designate Israeli aircraft as friend and prevent missile firing. But
Aselsan was said to have overridden F-16 software with the company's
indigenous IFF system, already installed on several combat aircraft.
The IFF project was said to have been marred by the suicide of three
Aselsan engineers in 2006 and 2007. Families of the engineers said their
death was suspicious and expressed concern that they had been killed.
The Daily Star said Aselsan's new system would be installed on all
Turkish combat platforms. The newspaper, regarded as close to the Erdogan
government, cited fighter-jets, helicopters, warships and submarines.
"The Turkish Navy is prepared for every scenario — even the worst one,"