Erdogan's suspension was announced on Sept. 6 after Israel refused to
apologize and compensate for the death of eight Turks in the Israel Navy
interception of a ship headed for the Gaza Strip in May 2010. A United
Nations report said the Israeli interception was legal although determined
that excessive force was used, Middle East Newsline reported.
Officials said it was not clear whether Erdogan's suspension of military
activities with Israel would harm Turkey. They said Turkey has already
completed major weapons deals with the Jewish state, including the delivery
of unmanned aerial vehicles and main battle tank upgrade.
From 1996 through 2011, Israel was said to have sold Turkey about $2.5
billion worth of military platforms and weapons. The last major deal ended
about a year ago when the state-owned Israel Military Industries completed
the upgrade of 170 M-60A3 main battle tanks in a nearly $700 million project
for the Turkish Army.
A key Turkish military requirement has been Israeli UAVs. The military
has ordered 10 Heron UAV medium-altitude, long-endurance platforms in a $183
million deal with Israel Aerospace Industries. All 10 platforms were
delivered, one of which crashed in early 2011.
"We don't care if [the defense trade suspension] it costs $15 million or
$150 million," Erdogan said. "We will not allow anyone to walk all over our
Officials said the military had been examining the prospect of also
ordering Israeli armor to enhance protection of combat vehicles. They said
most of the army's combat vehicle fleet was vulnerable to attacks by the
Kurdish Workers Party.
"This is still very new and the situation is fluid," a senior Turkish
defense official was quoted by the Hurriyet daily as saying. "We need to
clarify several things."
For his part, Erdogan accused Israel of failing to honor the Heron UAV
project. The prime minister said IAI was not delivering Herons sent by the
Turkish military for maintenance in Israel.
"They are not loyal to agreements between us in the defense industry,"
Erdogan said. "There might be problems, you may not be speaking to each
other, but you have to fulfill your responsibility under international