Turkey refutes Sunday Times report, ruling out military cooperation with Israel
Israeli Air Force F-16 war planes fly in formation over the Mediterranean Sea. REUTERS photo /Amir CohenAnkara has dismissed a news report suggesting that an Israeli delegation set to arrive in Ankara on April 22 would hold talks to use a Turkish airbase to train for a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.
“The report seems to have explained a hypothesis,” a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News on April 21 concerning The Sunday Times report published on the same day.
“We have already said that the normalization of our relations will be step by step. Talking about the prospects of a military cooperation at this stage would be irrelevant. We are not there yet. We haven’t even yet appointed a new ambassador to Israel,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed in May 2010 when Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara vessel while stopping an international flotilla trying to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas. Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and froze military cooperation after a U.N. report into the incident released in September 2011 largely exonerated Israel.
The Sunday Times alleged that Yaakov Amidror, the head of the National Security Council, who will head the Israeli delegation at April 22 “compensation talks” as part of the steps toward normalization, was additionally assigned to try to resuscitate the 1996 agreement between Jerusalem and Ankara which allowed the Israeli Air Forces to train in Turkish airspace and use the Akıncı airbase. “In return, Israel will offer to sell Turkey advanced missile and surveillance technology,” the newspaper said.