Turkey's Leader Increasingly Defriending Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Turkey ramped up its threats against Israel another notch on Tuesday announcing that its new radar system will no longer automatically identify Israeli aircraft as "friendly," the Ankara-based Star Gazette reported.

The system, manufactured in Turkey, replaces a U.S.-made system programmed to identify Israeli aircraft as "friendly." The new system is being installed on Turkish fighter jets, submarines, and warships.

The latest twist in a growing list of actions against Israel will allow Turkish pilots to target Israeli jets as enemy aircraft.

CBN News spoke with Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his reaction to the Turkish prime minister's comments.

On Monday, before leaving for Egypt, Erdogan managed one more jab at Israel over last year's attempt to breach the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

In an interview published by al Jazeera, Erdogan called Israel's intervention last May on the deck of the Turkish-owned Mavi Mamara "grounds for war."

He said only "Turkey's grandeur" allowed the government to bear with the incident in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed.

Israeli commandos, who attempted to board the ship after the captain refused to alter his course, were attacked with clubs, chains, knives and stun grenades.

"This attack that took place in international waters is not within international laws," Erdogan claimed. "It is a cause for war but we decided to act in line with Turkey's grandeur and show patience."

No to Palmer Report

Erdogan also rejected the U.N. Palmer Commission Report affirming the legality of the blockade under international law.

When the findings were publicized, Erdogan expelled Israel's ambassador and cut all diplomatic, trade and military ties. He also threatened to provide gunship escorts for Turkey's next flotilla and said he was thinking about visiting Gaza himself. He later softened his threats.

Meanwhile, Erdogan arrived in Egypt Monday for the first state visit in 15 years.

Erdogan's trip comes a few weeks after Egypt threatened to withdraw its ambassador from Tel Aviv. The threat was prompted by the deaths of five Egyptian soldiers killed when Israeli troops pursued terrorists into northern Sinai after a series of terror attacks killed eight Israelis.

It also follows Friday's dramatic events at the Israeli embassy in Cairo. For the second time in as many weeks, thousands of anti-Israel activists armed with sludge hammers, axes, and explosives attacked the building housing the embassy.

The rioters destroyed part of the 8-foot-high newly erected security wall, spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti, and tore down and burned the Israeli flag.

The Iranian parliament praised the event, saying it helped usher in "a new reality" in the region.

Israel Evacuates All but Six Guards

About four hours into the carnage, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the evacuation of embassy staff, leaving six security guards behind to protect the premises.

A short time later, the mob attempted to break down the fortified walls and get inside. When it became evident the guards' lives were in jeopardy, the Egyptian government -- yielding to pressure by the Obama administration -- deployed a commando unit to rescue the men and whisk them off to the airport.

According to his aides, Erdogan will present his vision for the region in a speech at Cairo University.

Israel is expecting him to continue his anti-Israel rhetoric at a meeting of the Arab League on Tuesday.

After Egypt, Erdogan will visit Libya and Tunisia -- two other countries that brought down their leaders during the "Arab spring."

Some said Erdogan's hard stance against Israel has boosted his popularity with Arab League member states.

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CBN News
Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.