Israel sells spy camera to Turkey despite risk

May 22, 2011, Sunday/ 17:08:00/ TODAYSZAMAN.COM

Israel's defense establishment has approved the sale of a sophisticated intelligence system to Turkey even though the Knesset has decided to debate a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide, the Media Line, a news portal on Middle East issues, has claimed.

The news portal said Israel's Ministry of Defense earlier last week approved the sale of a sensitive spy camera to Turkey, despite fears that the technology could find its way to hostile, third party elements.

According to the report, the system is the Long-Range Oblique Photography pod (LOROP), built by Israel's top defense companies. It is considered the pinnacle in Israeli technology, one of the reasons why the Israeli Ministry of Defense was hesitant to see it in foreign hands.

“All Israeli weapons sales must be approved by the Defense Export Department, or Sibat, a branch within the Ministry of Defense. According to Israeldefense, an Israeli website with close ties to the defense establishment, Sibat approved the transfer of the system in order improve the strained ties with Turkey,” the report said.

The once close Turkish-Israel alliance has greatly deteriorated, particularly since last May's assault by Israeli commandos on a Turkish ship participating in a flotilla trying to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent were killed in the raid.

Turkey has recently asked Israel to provide it with the identities of soldiers involved so it can prosecute them. Israel has warned that it will meet flotillas planned for next month with an iron fist.

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