More Turkish delight for Israeli defence industry?

It’s an unwritten rule: when you hear a rumour, try to look at the face of the man that whispered it. This may give you a hint about the part of the rumour that is true, if any at all.

When I heard this rumour for the first time, I felt that it was substantially true. When I heard it again, this feeling became even stronger.

In spite of the complete severance of the defence ties between Turkey and Israel, recently something is beginning to change. Its under the radar, it’s not in the open but it’s there.

Last year Turkey froze all negotiations on purchasing more Israeli made unmanned air systems (UAS) but made sure it received all the systems it paid for.

The crisis between the two countries that were very close partners in defence related issues is the result of the Israeli’s navy operation that stopped a flotilla of ships that sailed from Turkish ports and planned to reach Gaza with a cargo of humanitarian goods.

In 2007 Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elbit Systems launched a joint programme for the supply of UAS to the Turkish armed forces. 

The $190 million contract was signed between Israel UAS partnership (IUP) and the Turkish ministry of defence.

IAI manufactured the Heron UAS while Elbit Systems supplied the ground stations.

The UAS were not supplied in time and the two sides accused each other for the delay. In early 2010 the problems were solved and the Heron UAS were delivered.

After the flotilla incident the atmosphere was such that no further deals looked possible. But recently there have been signs that this may not be the case.

The armed forces in Turkey have a special status, and they know that the Israeli made systems, not only UAS, are very efficient and ones they need urgently.

Turkey is developing UAS but a long time will pass until these will reach the operational capabilities of these made in Israel.

This brings the problem to the threshold of the Israeli government – what to do if Turkey wants to buy more Israeli UAS and other aerial systems?

But all the above is only a rumour and rumours have a certain behavior. Something is happening but we will have to wait to see what is the outcome of it.


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