No honeymoon after Israel and Turkey restore ties

There is not going to be any sort of honeymoon.

Mutual interests, pressure from President Barack Obama and other “background” factors broke the ice, but the water is very cold.

The restoration of full diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel will not immediately lead to a renewal of negotiations about new contracts with the Israeli aerospace industry, say Israeli sources.

“If we see some continued talks about potential contracts that were discussed in the past, or new ones, this will be after the defence ties adjust to the new reality in Turkey,” an Israeli source says. 

He referred mainly to the changes that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made to the country’s armed forces. 

The decision to restore relations followed an apology by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the navy’s operation against a Gaza-bound international flotilla almost three years ago.

The apology is explained by pressure put on Netanyahu by Obama during his visit to Israel last week and the situation in Syria.

He announced the breakthrough after a 20-minute phone conversation with Erdogan.

The flotilla attack ended the diversified defence ties between the two countries.

One of the results was that in November 2011 the Israeli ministry of defence cancelled a deal to supply optical and radar imagery intelligence systems to the Turkish airforce. The systems were supposed to be carried by F-16s.

The $141 million contract was signed in 2009 and was won jointly by Elbit Systems Electro-Optics (Elop), which developed the long-range oblique photography (Lorops) system and by the Elta division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), which developed the SAR radar system.

Both Israeli companies were acting as subcontractors to Turkish company Aselsan.

In December 2011 the ministry notified the two Israeli companies that their export permits were cancelled.

When defence ties were cut, potential deals between Turkey and Israel’s aerospace industry amounted to more than $1 billion.

There is, of course, some hope that Turkey will again want some Israeli systems, but it is clear, even to the more optimistic, that the if and the when are very unclear.

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One Response to No honeymoon after Israel and Turkey restore ties

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