A senior official in Turkey's military industry said that Turkey will impose a heavy monetary penalty on Israel if it does not deliver 10 unmanned drones by the end of the year ordered by Turkey.
Turkey acquired the unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, from Israel Aerospace Industries some four years ago and reported Wednesday that the delay in their delivery was the reason behind cancelling the joint NATO-Israeli military exercise slated to take place in Turkey and not Israel's actions in Gaza, as previously thought.
The official said to Turkish newspaper Zaman that Israel will transfer the UAVs to Turkey by the end of the year. If Israel fails to do so, the official said, additional measures will be taken by Turkey.
"Turkey plans to impose a heavy monetary penalty on Israel for the delay. If this country refuses to comply with the penalty, then Turkey will head to the International Court of Commercial Arbitration,” noted the official. He added that the penalty will likely be for $3-4 million.
Turkey and Israel have recently been at odds due to Israeli-made surveillance drones, known as Herons.
A report was published Wednesday in Zaman that Turkey purchased the unmanned drones four years ago for $180 million from Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems. A Turkish Air Force official said to the newspaper that Turkey's chief of staff expressed his concern over the UAV delay to Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyep Erdogan during a ddiscussion a month ago.
The officials said that Erdogan promised to support any sanction the Turkish military would impose on Israel. According to him, the last time Israel was asked when the drones would be delivered, Israeli officials refused to provide a specific date, but said they would be supplied before the end of the year.
The crisis in Israeli-Turkish relations reached new heights on Wednesday.
Following Ynet's report on "Ayrilik" ("Farewell"), a prime-time show which airs on Turkish state-sponsored television channel TRT1 depicts the Israel Defense Forces as a murderous, bloodthirsty army, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman summoned the acting Turkish ambassador to Israel to a meeting with high-ranking Foreign Ministry officials in order to protest against the TV show.