Turkey Nearly Downs Israeli UAV

Report: Turkish army nearly downs an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) after it is spotted spying on Turkish equipment.

Contact Editor
Elad Benari,

Heron UAV
Heron UAV

The Turkish army nearly downed an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on Tuesday, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported.

According to the report, which was based on a claim made by another Turkish daily, the Taraf, the Heron was observed spying above the Turkish 14th Hawk B. Brigade Command in Hatay’s Kırıkhan district for four hours.

Taraf said the aerial vehicle was hovering over the brigade command post in order to capture pictures of missile batteries and radar equipment.

The Israeli drone was reportedly first noticed by a military lieutenant, who saw a white light flashing in the sky. He asked an air defense senior sergeant to verify what he had seen, who confirmed that a drone was hovering over the command post.

According to the report, the military personnel then left the post in preparation for a possible attack.

Radar followed the Israeli drone as military officials waited for the order to shoot it down. However, the report said, higher ranked military officials did not reply to the radar center’s call before the drone moved out of range, and as such it was not attacked.

Meanwhile, Today’s Zaman reported that Turkish and Israeli authorities are expected to meet in the South Korean capital, which is set to host the Nuclear Security Summit on March 26 and 27.

South Korean Ambassador Lee Sangkyu told Today’s Zaman the Korean authorities expect to see Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the nuclear summit in Seoul. Lee said Israeli officials have also been invited to the meeting, though it remains unclear who will be representing Israel at the summit.

Turkey and Israel have been in a diplomatic row which began shortly after Turkey demanded that Israel apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals onboard the Mavi Marmara in May of 2010. The Turkish citizens were killed when Israeli soldiers who boarded the Gaza-bound ship were forced to open fire after being attacked by the activists on board with clubs and knives.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu refused to apologize for the incident, and Turkey responded by downgrading its diplomatic ties with Israel.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan further deteriorated the tense situation when he chose to verbally attack Israel on several occasions.

Turkish president Abdullah Gul recently accused Israel  of not taking advantage of the changes in the Middle East to achieve peace with the Palestinian Authority and the entire Arab world.