Turkey and Israel: The End of the Affair

Military relations have been at the core of the Ankara-Jerusalem entente. These took off in February 1996 when the two sides signed a military training agreement that had Israeli air force jets flying over Anatolia, making the Turks the first Muslim-majority people to establish a formal military link to Israel.

Similarly, the end of the entente has just taken place. The decision by the Israelis to cancel a $141 million military deal signed with Turkey in 2008, out of concern that the Turks might deliver the state-of-the-art aerial intelligence system based on electro-optic sensors to enemies of Israel.

Comment: It’s deeply unfortunate that the vagaries of Turkey’s electoral politics permitted an Islamist party to dominate the country in 2002 – but at least the Israelis (and French) recognize this development, unlike the Americans, who persist in thinking all is well.

Daniel Pipes

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Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and the author of several books, including Militant Islam Reaches America and In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power (Transaction Publishers), from which this column derives.

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