Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Photo: AP

Turkey crisis: Concern that arms deals may be cancelled

Cancellation of joint military exercise brings crisis between Israel and Turkey to a head. Military industries say potential exports to Turkey getting smaller from month to month

Israel did not need to wait until its joint military exercise with NATO and Turkey was cancelled in order to understand that the honeymoon between Turkey's and Israel's defense establishment is over – particularly when it comes to military procurement in Israel.


Israel's military industries said Sunday that they are concerned about the future of arms deals and joint efforts slated to develop specialized weapons systems.


In unofficial talks, the military industries have said that the military export potential to Turkey is getting smaller and smaller every month. "The Americans and the Europeans have identified the change and are currently investing massive marketing efforts in Turkey," said an IMI source on Sunday.


Surprisingly, Italy has become the largest military supplier to Turkey. After the Turks failed large-scale procurement of American helicopters, the Italians launched a marketing campaign and won last year a massive deal supplying military choppers that could rake in billions of dollars.


This deal is a good example by which to measure Israel's status as a military supplier to Turkey.


Companies such as Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Israel Aircraft Industries, and Elbit produce a number of the most advanced helicopter systems in the world. Until now, the Turks have not made contact to acquire Israeli helicopter systems parallel to the ones being supplied by the Italians.


"If additional proof of the change occurring in Turkey were needed, this is one of them," said a military industry source Sunday.


Up until a few years ago, the military industries treated Turkey like a huge potential client. However, now everything has changed. "They had a huge appetite, and apparently large resources to match," said the source Sunday.


Deterioration started in the form of a few comments made by Turkish government leaders during Operation Cast Lead. But some people in Israel saw the statements merely as Turkish Muslim leaders' lip service to their brothers in Gaza. Israel was well aware that the Turkish military, the protector of the constitution, was the one to set the tone of military cooperation between the two countries. In the past, the Turkish military tipped the scales in favor of Israeli industries.


פרסום ראשון: 10.13.09, 08:20
 new comment
This will delete your current comment