Despite Foreign Ministry denial, CHP insists Turkey’s Kürecik serving Israel
AA PhotoThe main opposition party of Turkey has strongly dismissed an explanation from the Foreign Ministry and insisted the Kürecik radar base in the eastern province of Malatya has actually “become an element of Israel’s air defense system.”
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Faruk Loğoğlu also accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of “hypocrisy,” because of its inconsistent policies regarding the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
There are serious doubts that the Kürecik radar has not been providing intelligence to Israel, main opposition Loğoğlu said, arguing an earlier statement by the Foreign Ministry on the issue has not reflected the truth.
“The first of the developments that deepened these doubts is the use of the Kürecik radar in a joint U.S.-Israel exercise, which was carried out Feb. 10, 2012. During the exercise, harmonious operation of the Kürecik radar system and this system’s correspondent in Israel was tested. In this exercise, the Kürecik radar was used within the knowledge of and upon approval of the AKP government,” Loğoğlu said in a written statement released yesterday, only hours after the Foreign Ministry said the Kürecik radar base in the eastern province of Malatya is absolutely not providing data to Israel.
“The second, the integration of the U.S. radar system in Kürecik into NATO systems will take place in 2014,” he said. “In other words, Kürecik radar is now operating within U.S. command control systems,” he added.
“Additionally, on the contrary to the AKP government’s claims, until it is integrated into the NATO system, the Kürecik radar will be operated under the control of the U.S., not under the control of Turkey and thus has been operating as integrated with all U.S. radar systems and has been providing data to Israel within this content. That is to say, the Kürecik radar has become an element of the Israeli air defense system,” stated Loğoğlu, a veteran diplomat and former undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry.
Hours before Loğoğlu’s statement, the Foreign Ministry said the Kürecik radar base is absolutely not providing data to Israel as the latter wages its deadliest assault on Gaza for five years, in an effort to deflect insistent claims to the contrary by the main opposition.
NATO’s radar in Kürecik is being misused as part of “groundless claims” concerning the stance of the country which has been exerting an intense effort to end Israel’s attacks on Gaza and secure a permanent cease-fire, the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released late July 20.
“NATO missile defense system, and the radar in Kürecik which is a part of this, was founded entirely within the framework of our national security’s requirement and it aims to protect the peoples, territories and forces of allied countries. Within this framework, our country is also within the scope of the protection that the system provides,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said in the statement.
The spokesperson’s statement came in the form of an official response to a journalist’s question.
“On the other side, it is not possible for the system to provide protection to any country which is not a member of NATO. As is known, Israel is not a NATO member. The data being provided through the NATO system is being shared among allies within the current methods of NATO. The sharing of this data with countries which are not NATO allies is out of the question. This particularity was emphasized to the public openly by NATO Secretary-General [Anders Fogh Rasmussen] who visited our country in February 2012,” Bilgiç said.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has consistently argued that the Kürecik radar system was “simultaneously” providing data to Israel.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government must stop the operations in Kürecik if he wishes to convince Turks that Ankara is truly supporting the Gazans, Kılıçdaroğlu said recently.
Turkey agreed to allow the U.S. military to install a special X-band radar and early-warning radar at a base in Malatya’s Kürecik district in 2011 as part of the NATO system. The radar system became active in 2012. The CHP has long criticized the government over the deployment of the radar system, arguing that the government should seek Parliament’s approval as a number of U.S. soldiers are deployed at the base.
In late 2012, a leading member of the ruling Justice and Development’s Party (AKP) refuted opposition claims that the NATO radar base in eastern Turkey and the NATO Patriot missiles to be deployed on Turkish territory against threats from Syria were actually aimed at protecting Israel against Iran.
“When Israel has such a security system that it is called the ‘Iron Dome,’ there is no answer to the question: ‘Why would an additional facility be established in Kürecik to protect Israel?’”AKP deputy Volkan Bozkır, the head of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission, told Anadolu Agency at the time, underlining that Israel’s security system was able to deflect 90 percent of the 1,500 missiles sent from Gaza.