Israel may reject Turkey's arms request on strained ties over Gaza

Israel may reject Turkeys arms request on strained ties over Gaza

Israel is considering rejecting a number of requests by Turkey to purchase advanced military platforms from the Jewish state after ties between the two countries became strained over the latest Gaza operation, The Jerusalem Post wrote on Monday.

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Several Turkish requests recently submitted to Israel's Defense Ministry will need to be reviewed due to the change in political ties between Jerusalem and Ankara, Israeli officials told the daily. The officials would not reveal which new military platforms Turkey had requested. 


"Turkey is eyeing moderate Arab countries and is hoping to strengthen its ties with them," one senior defense official told the Israeli daily. "Just like we don't sell advanced military platforms to Jordan and Egypt, we may decide not to sell to Turkey."


Relations between Turkey and Israel, who have close diplomatic and military ties, have been strained over Turkish officials' harsh criticisms ofIsrael's operations in Gaza. In the latest incident, Erdogan stormed out of the Gaza session with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos after the moderator did not give him the floor to speak.


The paper said there is growing concern in Israel that the Turkish military could be losing its power and influence within and over the government.


The defense establishment is also concerned that the diplomatic crisis with Turkey may also lead Ankara to annul an arrangement allowing the Israel Air Force to train and fly in Turkish airspace, it added.


"No one knows yet how this will affect our relationship on a defense level," one official said. "We need to wait to see how this plays out," he added.


Sources in defense industries, however, told the paper that they hope that the crisis with Ankara would pass and would not have a negative impact on sales to Turkey.


"Despite the soured diplomatic ties, there are very good relations between the two militaries," said one official. "Israel has several contracts with Turkey that have been signed, and there is no reason to believe that they will not be upheld," he added.


Turkey and Israel have a strong partnership in military equipment and arms. The trade volume between Turkey and Israel was $2.6 billion in 2007 and some suggest $1.8 billion is attributed to military equipment trade.


The Turkish army said last week that Turkey’s military relations with all countries, including Israel, was based on national interests and underlined there was no problem in the scheduled delivery by Israel of Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.


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