Israel has declined a request by Turkey to purchase several different military systems, including an anti-tank guided weapon and a missile system for its navy.
The request by the Turkish government was rejected by Israel’s SIBAT, the defense assistance and export organization, which is currently reviewing each order on a case-by-case basis.
Turkey said it wanted to buy the Spike non-line-of-site (NLOS) anti-tank guided weapon, the Namer heavy infantry fighting vehicle, and the Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Barak 8 theater-defense missile system for its navy, according to UK-based Jane’s Defence Weekly.
Israel did, however, deliver the last of 170 upgraded M60A1 main battle tanks (MBTs) to the Turkish military on April 7 through a joint contract between Israel Military Industries (IMI) and Turkey’s Aselsan, shepherded along by Columbia.
The move is seen as a response to Turkey’s increasing anti-Israel rhetoric and the pro-Islamic leanings in its foreign and domestic policies.
An Israeli defense official was quoted by the military publication as saying, “Ties with Turkey will never be the way they once were. We are being very careful which systems we sell them, due to the growing Islamic trends in the country.”
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan harshly criticized Israel during and following its counter terrorism Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which ran from December 28, 2008 to January 20, 2009.
Since that time, relations between the two countries have steadily deteriorated, a trend reflected in Turkey’s decision in October 2009 to bar Israel’s Air Force from participating in the joint Anatolian Eagle exercises. Turkey ultimately chose to cancel the drill rather than back down in response to pressure from the United States and Italy, who were also set to participate.
As a result, Israel has also been searching for new air space in which to conduct long-range training exercises, since Turkey has refused the IAF use of its air space. Recently the Defense Ministry has been exploring the possibility of renewing a 2006 agreement to deploy IAF fighter jets in Romania. (IsraelNationalNews.com)