ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News - Gokhan Kurtaran
Thursday, September 8, 2011 Hurriyet Daily News
Israel’s raid last year on an aid flotilla in the eastern Mediterranean Sea was “no different” under international law than what Somali pirates are doing in the Aden Gulf, Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım said Thursday.
“Israel’s act in these waters is no different than the pirates in the Aden Gulf,” Yıldırım told the Hürriyet Daily News during a meeting in Istanbul, referring to the diplomatic feud between Israel and Turkey over Israeli commandos’ deadly raid May 31, 2010, on a Gaza-bound aid ship, killing nine Turks.
“Except for the 12-mile coastal shore, the waters are open to everyone’s use. No country has the right to prevent us from using our law-granted rights,” the minister added.
On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey “will apply all necessary preventive measures in order to ensure its navigational freedom,” noting that the country has the longest coastline bordering on the East Mediterranean.
Yıldırım on Thursday expressed agreement with Davutoğlu’s earlier comment that Israel does not have the right to implement a 20-mile zone of territorial waters along its shores.
“No one has the right to take over these waters. If they do, they will get their response from us,” the transportation minister said.
Referring to Israel’s demand for 20 miles of territorial waters due to the sea blockade of Gaza, Yıldırım said Israel has the right to only 12 nautical miles in the eastern Mediterranean. “The way that Israel is acting by not obeying international law is sea banditry,” he said, adding that Turkey would not accept the unlawful implementation.