Israel imposes partial arms embargo on Turkey

Israel will temporarily freeze sales of advanced military platforms to Turkey over »»

Israel will temporarily freeze sales of advanced military platforms to Turkey over concerns about the perceived mounting anti-Israel rhetoric from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reported UK-based Jane’s Defence Weekly.

According to a story Jane’s published on April 16, Israel’s defense assistance and export organization, SIBAT, has decided to evaluate Turkish requests on a case-by-case basis; one case under review is a Turkish request for Israeli-made electronic warfare systems. Turkey has also expressed interest in Rafael’s Spike non-line-of-sight (NLOS) anti-tank guided weapon as well as Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI’s) Barak 8 theatre-defense missile system for its navy and the Namer heavy infantry fighting vehicle.

“Ties with Turkey will never be the way they once were,” a defense source told Jane’s on April 14. “We are being very careful which systems we sell them due to the growing Islamic trends in the country.”

Diplomatic relations between the two countries declined in the aftermath of Israel’s 2008-09 conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip because Turkey was among the harshest critics of the Israeli offensive. They deteriorated further with the delay in deliveries by IAI of six Heron unmanned aerial vehicles and still further with the decision to cancel the October 2009 Anatolian Eagle exercises.

More disharmony followed Turkey’s decision to forbid Israel Air Force strike aircraft to be deployed in Turkey, where they have held numerous joint exercises in recent years. Israel has instead turned to Europe for training, aiming to bolster a 2006 agreement to allow strike aircraft to be deployed in Romania, reported Jane’s quoting its Tel Aviv correspondent.

According to Jane’s, Israel and Turkey have, however, maintained a cautious business relationship, jointly discussing with Colombia the sale of upgraded M60 main battle tanks (MBTs). Israel Military Industries (IMI) and Turkey’s Aselsan on April 7 handed over the last of 170 upgraded General Dynamics M60A1 MBTs to the Turkish military at a ceremony attended by a top Colombian general, said Jane’s.

Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül was not available to answer Today’s Zaman’s questions on the issue.

2010-04-19

Diplomacy