Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has reiterated that an Israeli raid on a Turkish aid ship last year, which resulted in the deaths of eight Turks and a Turkish-American, was a cause for war and said Turkey can even go to war if necessary.
“The killing of nine people is in fact a cause for war. But we did not see it that way and, as a grand nation, acted with patience,” Erdoğan said on PBS' Charlie Rose Show on Wednesday evening. When asked to confirm that he sees the 2010 raid as a cause for war, Erdoğan said, “That could be done if necessary,” and added: “But we decided to act in line with Turkey's grandeur and showed patience. I wonder if the US would welcome the killing of its nationals in international waters.”
Erdoğan also reiterated that there will be no normalization in Turkey's relations with Israel unless Israel apologizes for the deadly raid, pays compensation for families of the victims, and lifts the blockade of the Gaza Strip, in place since 2007. “These three conditions must be fulfilled,” he said.
Erdoğan also defended his rhetoric against Israel and referring to the country as a “spoiled boy,” when asked if his rhetoric was helpful in resolving the dispute. But he said the Israeli government, not its people, is responsible for the crisis in ties with Turkey.
“I am talking on the basis of the facts. Israel is the spoiled child of the West, I repeat this,” he said, noting that Israel has ignored several resolutions passed in the UN against it. “Sudan, for instance, faced international pressure. But the same pressure was not imposed on Israel. This approach was unfortunately not displayed in the Israeli-Palestinian issue,” he said.
Responding to a question on whether his anti-Israeli rhetoric stemmed from a desire to boost his popularity among Arab states, Erdoğan said: “We have no interest in popularity. We have to tell the truth, this is what justice requires.”