Daily Israel Report

Israel, Turkey Reactivate Air Force Coordination

Israel and Turkey are reactivating their military ties, beginning with a coordination mechanism between the two air forces.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 12/22/2011, 2:38 PM

IAF F-16 fighter jet (archive)
IAF F-16 fighter jet (archive)
IDF


Israel and Turkey are reactivating their military ties, beginning with a coordination mechanism between the two air forces. The link exists to prevent aerial mishaps and potential disasters between aircraft from the two nations over the Mediterranean Sea.

The coordination mechanism was recently reactivated, a senior IAF officer said, as part of the effort on both sides to stabilize and improve relations. Turkey's military attache to Israel also attended an IAF briefing for foreign military officers two weeks ago.

Following Israel's three-week counter terrorism mini-war against the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009, Turkey began to downgrade its ties with the Jewish State.

Once firm allies and military training partners, Turkey disinvited Israel from participating in two annual multinational military exercises, the Anatolian Eagle. The U.S. and Italy quit the drill immediately, rather than participate without Israel.

The four nations had flown together in the annual drill for at least a decade.

Relations were further damaged after the Turkish IHH organization sponsored a ship, the Mavi Marmara, that participated in a six-vessel flotilla that tried to illegally breach Israel's martime blockade of Gaza. Aboard the vessel was a group of armed Turkish terror activists that attacked IDF naval commandos when they boarded the ship to redirect it to Ashdod port after repeated requests to change course were ignored.

Nine terror activists were killed in the clashes that ensued, and a number of IDF soldiers were badly wounded as well, including three who were permanently disabled due to their injuries. Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and recalled its own from Tel Aviv as a result of the incident.