In the wake of Israel's assault on and hijacking of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, relations between Turkey and Israel are set to take a dangerous turn. Sources in Turkey claim that the Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his army Chief of Staff and the country's Head of Intelligence are considering putting Turkey on to a war footing with the Jewish state "unless the Israelis release within twelve hours the Turkish citizens who were on the flotilla and are now being held prisoner". Such a decisive stand would be a major development in the history of relations between the two states.
The same sources say that Israel would be surprised at such a move if it is taken by Turkey, predicting a "hot warning" at most. The US administration has, it is claimed, tried unsuccessfully to dissuade Ankara from taking such a position, which would change the balance of power in the world, not just in the Middle East. President Obama has apparently told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Ankara is both offended and angry, and that the Israeli government should act to set up an independent inquiry before it's too late.
These claims come after Israelis living in Turkey have been advised by their government to leave the country for their own safety.
Source: Ankara and agencies