Renewing Israeli Defence Sales to Turkey?
Israel Aerospace Industries "Heron" UAV, supplied to Turkey in happier days
There is reportedly a stand-off between Israel’s Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister, Avigdor Leiberman.
The topic is whether
Israel should renew defence sales to . Ehud Barak is reportedly arguing in favour, as it is part of his mandate to promote Turkey Israel’s defence industries; whereas Avigdor Leiberman is objecting, due to the continuing “strained” relations between Turkey and . Israel
All this came crashing down, as Islamist Prime Minister Recep Erdogan became vociferously anti-Israel in 2009. And went from bad to worse with the 2010 Flotilla mess.
Today, although Israeli commercial exports to
Turkey have actually increased, even during the rocky patch in relations, Israel’s defence sales to are now effectively zero. Turkey
The thawing in Turkey/Israel ties in the past two months, as a consequence of the Syrian regime’s atrocities, exposing Turkey to the embarrassment of having betted on the wrong horse (Syria, rather than Israel), have practically resulted in behind-the-scene cooperation in stopping, or at least stalling, the 2011 Flotilla.
I can understand why Ehud Barak is salivating over the prospect of renewal of Israel-Turkey defence cooperation and defence industry sales.
On the other hand, Lieberman is attempting to torpedo Barak’s ambitions.
I do not know of any Israeli politician who is AGAINST improving ties, if possible, with
. We have very few friends in our neighborhood, and losing such a powerful regional allie as Turkey Turkey was a major blow to strategically. Israel
Lieberman’s justifications have not been publicized, but it reasonable to assume that the Foreign Office, being more cautious and conservative, by nature, than the Defence Ministry, will be lobbying for a “softly softly” approach to working on warming relations with Turkey.
I do not believe that there is a real and current threat that Israeli technology would migrate from
Turkey to Iran or . And if that is a problem, then it is a much bigger one for the Syria USA, supplying F-35 Lightening aircraft and technology to Turkey, or to Europe, selling advanced attack helicopters.
However, a note of realism is to observe that the Turks no longer hanker after Israeli technology, the way they did ten years ago.
have invested heavily in their own indigenous capabilities and technology, and the Israeli “edge” is no longer so sharp and enticing. Turkey
Therefore the Barak vs Lieberman squabble may not be substantive, as the Turks are not eager to buy, regardless of whether
’s Government chooses to sell. Israel