JERUSALEM, Israel -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to send gunboats with his next "aid" flotilla to the Gaza Strip.
Erdogan's announcement is the latest in a string of threats in response to the U.N.'s Palmer Commission's findings released one week ago.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed the commission to investigate last May's confrontation aboard the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara. Ban said in the past he hoped the commission would help Israel and Turkey come to terms over the incident in which nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed.
Turkish officials rejected the commission's affirmation of the legality of Israel's naval blockade on the Gaza Strip under international law, vowing to strengthen its naval presence in the Mediterranean.
Israel has not responded in kind to Erdogan's threats.
Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor told Israel Radio on Friday "silence is the best response."
"The things Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said are harsh and serious, but I don't think it would be right to get into any verbal saber-rattling with him," Meridor said, adding that he hoped "this phenomenon will pass."
"Turkey, which claims that Israel is not above international law, needs to understand that neither is it. A U.N. committee has determined that the [naval] blockade is legal," Meridor said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak uttered similar sentiments on Thursday, saying the Jewish state was trying its best to "avoid a war of words with Turkey," while continuing to seek "practical ways to change the momentum" of Turkey's vitriolic rhetoric.
But judging from Erdogan's rhetoric, it appears -- at least for now -- he wants no part of it.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu pre-empted Erdogan's remarks last weekend when he announced Turkey's rejection of the findings, saying "it's time for Israel to pay a price."
Davutoglu added that Turkey would reduce diplomatic ties with the Jewish state to the lowest level and cancel all military agreements.