Turkey-Israel defense deals back on agenda - report


Turkey is eager to renew defense cooperation with Israel, Turkish newspaper "Zaman" reports.

Turkey is eager to renew defense cooperation with Israel, defense sources have told the Turkish newspaper "Zaman," as part of the restoration of full diplomatic relations broken off after the Marmara flotilla incident in 2010. In that incident 10 Turkish activists were killed when trying to run the blockade of Gaza.

Turkish military sources told "Zaman," "Ankara is looking to revive military cooperation with Israel and looks forward to purchasing key technologies like advanced UAVs and reconnaissance and surveillance systems from Tel Aviv."

Those sources added, "Turkish authorities are contemplating reviving several projects that were postponed after the Mavi Marmara incident. The Israeli Defense Ministry canceled the license of Israeli defense firms Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) and Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) for selling advanced intelligence systems to the Turkish Air Force (THK) after the Mavi Marmara incident. Ankara retaliated by canceling other defense contracts and Turkish defense company ASELSAN took its money back from a deal with two Israeli firms."

"The THK struck a deal worth $165 million with Israeli firms IAI and Elbit in 2008," "Zaman" recounts, "to modernize its aging F-4 fleet by placing advanced reconnaissance and surveillance systems on jets. A year later, Turkey paid Israeli companies $55 million before the project was completed. When the project was called off, the Turkish Ministry of Defense demanded its money be returned."

"Zaman added, "Another crisis that crippled the Turkish military's efforts in the fight against terrorism is the breakdown in cooperation over UAVs. Turkey in the mid-2000s bought a number of Heron UAVs and began operating them from a ground station in the Southeast. When relations broke down after the Mavi Marmara incident, Turkey faced significant setbacks in operating the UAVs. Turkey currently has one ground station and is only able to operate three Herons at the same time."

"The military wants to fly all of them whenever it needs and is seeking to overcome the problem that is hampering its efforts to gather intelligence to spot PKK targets in mountainous areas."

"Another problem the military faces is technical problems associated with the Herons," continued "Zaman." "Whenever one of the Herons has a technical error and is unable to fly, Turkey had to send it back to Israel to be fixed. But due to the lingering political crisis between the two countries, Israel has either dragged its feet on fixing the problems or even refused to do so."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 27, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

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