Turkey is expected to receive its first shipment of attack drones from Israel next month as part of a $180 million deal signed in 2005, according to the Haaretz daily. In December, Turkey received two Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's), and another three are expected to be shipped in February.
According to Turkish sources and reports in the Turkish media, the predominantly Muslim country is expected to buy drones known as the Harpy armed UAV, which was developed by Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries. While Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul was reportedly impressed with the Harpy's performance on his visit to Israel in October, Turkish sources say Turkey would rather buy the Predator because of its rich combat experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. One Turkish source said the reports about the deal with Israel were leaked to try to persuade the Americans to cut through the red tape and approve the sale.
The Harpy killed Hamas terrorists during the recent Operation Lead campaign, which has been criticized by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. For a related story, click here.