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Turkey conducted war games with China, news report says

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 9/30/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The Turkish and Chinese air forces secretly participated in a military drill in Konya as part of the 'Anatolian Eagle' war games, prompting a reaction from Washington, daily Taraf reported Thursday.

The Turkish and Chinese air forces secretly participated in a military drill in Konya as part of the “Anatolian Eagle” war games, prompting a reaction from Washington, daily Taraf reported Thursday.

Taraf based its report on Turkish and Western military sources, who confirmed that the military drills took place but did not state the exact dates of the games or what kind of aircraft were involved.

Washington has requested information on the matter from Turkey, the report added.

Last year, Ankara excluded Israel from the war games, reportedly because of political tension that arose with Tel Aviv after the Israeli-led war in Gaza in January 2009.

The Turkish government decided to freeze all military exercises with Israel in response to the killing by Israeli commandos of nine people on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May. Last year, Ankara excluded Tel Aviv from the same exercise, which prompted fellow NATO members the United States and Italy to withdraw from the drills. Turkey had to conduct the exercise on a national instead of an international level.

Since the early 2000s, Turkey, a NATO member, has conducted war games in the central Anatolian province of Konya with other members of the alliance or non-member friendly nations. But this year was the first time a military drill was conducted with China.

The U.S. administration reportedly contacted the Turkish foreign and defense ministries and asked why the drill was conducted and what kind of maneuvers were practiced.

[HH] Joint missile production

Turkey and China took their first step in military cooperation in the late 1990s with joint missile production, manufacturing weapons with a 150-kilometer range.

The multinational NATO “Anatolian Eagle” exercise is hosted by the Turkish Air Forces and is aimed at boosting aerial cooperation and training air forces of other participatory countries. The exercises have been performed since the first Anatolian Eagle, or AE-01, in June 2001.

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