Turkey Urges No Access to NATO Data for Israel

Turkey has decided to renege on an agreement to provide Israel with information about ballistic missile launches from terrorist entities.

Rachel Hirshfeld,

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan

In Turkey’s latest rebuff of Israel, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz has decided to renege on an agreement in principle to provide Israel with information about ballistic missile launchings from terrorist entities, Defense News reported. 

NATO agreed in a summit meeting in Lisbon two years ago to devise a missile defense system to protect alliance members from a rogue nation in the area. As part of the system, Turkey agreed to allow the U.S. military to install a special X-band radar at a base in Kurecik in southeastern Turkey. 

“Any data or information produced by this system will only be available to the alliance, as in the case for other alliance systems,” Yilmaz said in an email message to Defense News on June 12. “Information-sharing with non-NATO actors is subject to specific arrangements and it is possible only if the allies consensually agree on it.”

Although there has been some discussion of sharing the radar’s data with Israel, the Turkish government would likely object if the alliance sought to do so.

Yilmaz also stated that his ultimate objective as defense minister would be the development of Turkey’s national defense industry.

“The Ministry of National Defense will continue its modernization program ... and will support the national defense industry by following the scientific developments in the world,” he said.

Earlier this week, the United States blocked Israel's participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum's (GCTF) first meeting in Istanbul on Friday, succumbing to fierce demands by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Israel be excluded.

In May, Turkey vetoed Israel’s participation in a NATO summit that took place in Chicago and has maintained that NATO-Israel relations cannot be restored until Turkey-Israel relations are normalized. 

Relations between the two countries became increasingly hostile in May 2010 when Israeli naval commandos sought to prevent the pro-terror Mavi Marmara flotilla from entering Gaza and from unlawfully infiltrating Israel’s borders.