Despite growing strains in Turkey's relationship with Israel, which reached a nadir following the deadly commando raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, a delegation of more than 20 Turkish officers and soldiers landed in the Jewish state on Tuesday for a two-week visit, during which they will be trained to operate the Heron drone, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Turkey has purchased 10 Heron drones for an estimated $190 million. Six of them have already been delivered. The Turkish delegation, which also includes senior government officials, is expected to return to Ankara with the remaining four drones.
The drones, which are manufactured by the Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems, are used by the Turkish military to gather intelligence in the ongoing conflict with Kurdish insurgents. More than 300 insurgents have been killed by Turkish forces in the past few days.
IDF and Israel Aerospace Industries instructors were sent to Turkey in order to train military personnel to use the drones, but they recently returned to Israel in light of the heightened tensions over the flotilla raid.
The Israeli instructors are expected to return to Turkey at some point in the future.