The relationship between Israel and Turkey has been strained at best, but one cannot deny the strategic importance of the military cooperation that exists(ed) between Israel and her Muslim neighbor nation.
On the one hand, the joint military exercise taking place between Turkey and Syria is cause for concern and intelligence officials are monitoring events as the war of words between Israel and her Arab neighbors intensifies, including Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Hizbullah.
Just recently, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad threatened to catapult Israel back to the ‘stone age’ if compelled to engage in a military conflict with IDF forces. This latest threat joins numerous statements released in recent weeks from Lebanese President Mishael Suleiman, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and Hizbullah leaders.
For a second time in a number of months, Turkish forces earlier this week have begun joint exercises with Syrian troops, sending a worrisome message to Israel. Turkey has been openly shifting its alliance to radical nations such as Syria and Iran, openly speaking out against Israel in the international political arena, formerly a staunch ally.
On the other hand, tourism to Turkey from Israel has increased against following the sharp drop after Operation Cast Lead, and Turkey continues to receive drone pilotless aircraft manufactured by Israel, while seeking to order other sophisticated weapons from Israel Military Industry. Israel on the other hand has decided to review each order on its own merit, no longer willing to furnish Turkey with everything Ankara wishes to acquire, cautiously aware that the current shift of loyalty may result in Israeli-manufactured military hardware being used against Israel if Arab nations launch a military attack against Israel.
Continuing his threats against Yerushalayim, Assad told Kuwaiti media that if Israel launches an attack against Hizbullah in southern Lebanon, his armed forces will improve a naval blockade against Israel.
Efforts to release messages of calm from Jerusalem have had a limited impact at best as Arab leaders seem determined to escalate the war of words against Israel.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)