Turkish Military Officials in Israel to Pick Up Drones

A Turkish military delegation arrived Tuesday in Israel to pick up drones, despite rumors just a week ago that Ankara had canceled the deal.

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Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 20:41

Heron UAV in Paris 2008
Heron UAV in Paris 2008
Israel news photo: courtesy of IAI

A Turkish military delegation arrived Tuesday in Israel to pick up the rest of an order of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones – this, despite rumors just a week ago that Ankara had canceled the deal.

According to a report in the Turkish Zayman daily newspaper, the delegation is expected to stay for at least two weeks. The military officials allegedly came “to conclude test runs in the delivery of four Israeli-made drones, the remaining lot in a 10-UAV deal between Turkey and Israel.”

Last week the same paper reported that all military agreements with Israel had been canceled by Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan in another slap at the Jewish State following the clash on the Turkish-sponsored six-ship flotilla that attempted to break Israel's sovereignty over Gaza waters.

Among the deals that were nixed, according to that report, was the agreement with Israel Aerospace Industries to supply the Heron UAV to the Turkish Air Force. The $180 million contract with IAI and Elbit Systems included electronic equipment and spare parts in addition to the 10 Heron drones.

The Turkish government admitted Friday to slaughtering as many as 120 Kurdish rebels in raids on their hideouts in northern Iraq last month. Israeli-made unmanned drones have been used to attack the positions, which were located with assistance from U.S. intelligence sources.

Erdogan, who had announced the suspension in the military hardware deals with Israel, also reportedly vowed yesterday to “destroy” the Kurdish rebels.

Meanwhile, Turkish author and philospher Adnan Oktar told Israel National News on Tuesday afternoon that although there is indeed "mutual tension" at present, he believes it is still possible to salvage the once-strong diplomatic and cultural ties between the two countries.

"Devout Jews and devout Muslims can establish peace and security in the Middle East," Oktar said. "One of them is the son of Ishmael and the other is the son of Jacob... It is not only Muslims who are trapped behind the walls; Jews are also imprisoned behind them. Let them come and live freely and build factories and open universities and do business in Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Turkey."

Ironically, Oktar added that the ideologies of atheism and Darwinism, seen so often as marks of progress in secular, intellectual circles, would ultimately prove the undoing of both Jewish and Muslim societies in the Middle East: "Bloodshed is inevitable, because these ideologies believe that conflict is essential to progress," he explained.