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


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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