Turkey Lifts Veto on NATO Cooperation with Israel

NATO member Turkey has agreed to lift its veto on non-military cooperation between the alliance and Israel.

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Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), has agreed to lift its veto on non-military cooperation between the alliance and Israel which it imposed following the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2010, a diplomat said Sunday, according to AFP.

Ankara cut ties with the Jewish state in May of 2010, when Israeli naval commandos, seeking to protect Israel’s national security, boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla, filled with pro-Palestinian terrorist activists seeking to infiltrate Israel’s borders. They were savagely attacked by the terrorist activists, who were armed to the teeth with knives, clubs and some firearms. The incident resulted in the death of nine Turkish activists, including one U.S. citizen.

The decision to renew NATO links came at a December 4 meeting in Brussels of the 28-member alliance on a proposal by its Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the diplomat said, according to the news agency.

In return, several NATO allies of Israel agreed to drop a veto against cooperating with Turkey-friendly countries, notably in the Arab world.

Turkey will agree to Israeli involvement in certain NATO activities but will maintain its ban on joint military maneuvers. Ankara also reserves the right to bar activities with Israel on its own soil, AFP reported.

Turkey has long sought to block Israel's participation in various NATO and counterterrorism summits, maintaining that NATO–Israel relations cannot be restored until Turkey-Israel relations are normalized.

The agreement comes after NATO agreed early this month to deploy Patriot anti-aircraft missiles along the Turkish border with Syria.