Following are excerpts
from an interview with Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which aired on the Al-Jazeera network on September
Tayyip Erdoğan: The measures we have taken are only the beginning.
As you know, we have taken five measures, and we will see the results
of these measures in the days, weeks, and perhaps months to come.
Israel must realize that
it is accountable for its actions, past and present. It will realize
this. We have seen that Israel has never observed any of the resolutions
issued by the UN General Assembly or Security Council.
Israel is behaving like
a spoilt child. The military attack that took place in international
waters against the Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010 was not in keeping
with any international laws or rights. This attack constitutes a
casus belli, but we chose to act in a manner befitting the greatness
of Turkey, and we adopt a patient position.
Israel adamantly refuses
to apologize and to pay compensation. It also refuses to lift its siege
on Gaza. By its insistence upon these political issues, Israel has rendered
its relations with Turkey non-existent, and has doomed itself to remain
alone. Now even the West views Israel in a different light.
From now on, Turkeys'
relations with Israel will be at the level of second secretary, and
even this level will not be permanent.
Second, we have frozen
our commercial ties pertaining to military industries. Israel is not
honest in this regard. It does not conform to proper commercial values.
We have purchase and sale agreements, which include the maintenance
of unmanned aircrafts by Israel. The agreement requires Israel to do
this, but because of the problems between us, Israel has not handed
these aircrafts over to us.
Third, from now on, we
will be seeing Turkish ships in the international waters of the eastern
Mediterranean. We will be seeing them more and more. I am referring
to Turkish military ships. The world will see more and more warships,
especially in maritime areas in which we have economic interests. From
now on, Israel will not be able to impose its influence in these regions
however it likes. It must realize this.
There is another important
measure. Based upon its relations with us and our goodwill, Israel conducted
joint military operations with us. Of course, a year ago, we stopped
maneuvers of this kind. We cancelled them, and from now on, there will
be no military cooperation or joint military maneuvers. This is impossible.
We will not do this anymore.
The fifth issue pertains
to our slain brothers – the victims aboard the Marmara,
in particular. We will defend their rights. We will give them the greatest
support, and we will continue to defend their rights, and we will pursue
their case in the Hague court to the end.
As you know, Israel
has begun to declare its control over areas of economic influence, as
it sees fit, and has declared them areas in which it has interests.
It will see that it has no authority in these areas.
Turkey has economic interests
in these regions, especially in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Turkey is a guarantor state in Cyprus, and its position is well known
there. Therefore, Turkey must display its resolve there, and guarantee
freedom of navigation in international waters at all times.
With regard to the ships
sailing to Gaza, [Turkey] will not hesitate to take measures. We will
give all possible support to the transfer of humanitarian aid, and will
provide the necessary arrangements.
If Israel does not do
anything, Turkey will not carry out any military action. We will not
repeat their mistake. We will not attack people in international waters.
We demand to establish
rights with regard [to the aid to Gaza]. If the international community
is incapable of establishing such rights, we cannot be expected to watch
from the sidelines.
The main mission of Turkish
military ships is to protect Turkish vessels. This is their duty. We
will send humanitarian aid to [Gaza], and this aid will not be subject
to any attack like the one on the Mavi Marmara. If they are attacked,
the attackers will meet an appropriate response.
The Syrians did not help
resolve the problems in Lebanon. Regretfully, they did not help us in
Syria either. We are now seeing thousands being killed in Syria. How
do they account for that? They say that their people is a terrorist
people. They say that the terrorists are armed, and that they are killing
Mr. Al-Assad, when you
shell Latakia from the sea, how can you determine the target with precision?
How can you then claim that you are killing terrorists? The same thing
happened in Hama and in Homs.
We are facing an Al-Assad
who has cast a shadow on his own legitimacy and who is on the verge
of losing his legitimacy altogether.