Turkish-Syrian exercise prompts Israeli review of sophisticated arms sales to Ankara

Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak commented Monday, April 27, that Turkey’s decision to hold three days of military maneuvers with Syria is “disturbing.”
And that is not all. The exercise will be accompanied Monday or Tuesday by the signing of a letter of intent between Turkish defense minister Vecdi Gonul and his Syrian counterpart Hassan Turkmani for cooperation in the defense industry.
debkafile‘s military sources report that the signing and the exercise are major landmarks on the shrinking road of military and trading ties between Turkey and Israel. In 2009, Ankara pared exchanges down to $2.2 billion in 2009 and expanded its trade with Syria to $2.6 billion.
Israel is now in a hurry to slash its military exchanges with Turkey to prevent the leakage of military secrets to an avowed Arab enemy.
Ankara is furthermore defaulting on payments for military purchases and other contracts. It has piled up a debt of several million dollars to Israel’s military and air industries, in payment for a $5 billion deal to build a Mark 3 Chariot plant in Turkey. Production of 1,000 Israeli tanks, to have been Turkey’s main theater tank, should have begun in early 2009.
Construction is now halted.
Israel will also discontinue sales of its world-class unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) and sharply reduce its military ties with Turkey which go back to the 1960s.
debkafile‘s military sources report that Ankara deliberately played up the scale of the joint exercise, in which Turkish and Syrian border units rather than substantial military forces are involved. Its disclosure was a strong statement of the Erdogan government’s policy of trading its extensive strategic relations with Israel for ties with Syria.
For debkafile‘s original exposure of the joint exercise click
Our sources stress that this trend began to emerge three years ago, although the Sharon and Olmert governments did their best to keep it out of sight. debkafile‘s Ankara sources report that the indirect Israel-Syrian peace talks brokered by Turkey last year were used by prime minister Ehud Olmert to conceal this setback in Israel’s foreign relations.
Furthermore, Israel’s defense and foreign ministries as well as top IDF ranks held on to the conviction that the installment of a pro-Islamic government in Ankara would not detract from the long-held ties of cooperation and trust between Turkey and Israel.
debkafile‘s intelligence sources report they misread the signals. The Turkish armed forces is no long the body it once was. The generals of today are in harmony with Recip Tayyep Erdogan’s decision to turn Turkey’s back on Israel.

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