Ashkenazi on Tuesday
Photo: Noam Moscowitz

IDF chief: Military ties with Turkey intact

Despite growing tension between Israel, Turkey, Ashkenazi says dialogue between militaries 'ongoing on all levels'

While Turkey threatens to cut ties with Israel, the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff believes security relations between the two countries are as strong as ever.


Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday that "dialogue with the Turks is ongoing on all military levels, and there are also exercises."


He said he spoke with his Turkish counterpart after the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, which left nine Turkish citizens dead.


"Ties with Turkey are important," he said. "Not everything that is happening is acceptable to the (Turkish) military. We must also maintain ties in stormy periods. I personally spoke with the Turkish chief of staff, and we spoke after the flotilla incident as well."


Ashkenazi also addressed the other challenges the IDF faces. He said Iran is continuing to enrich uranium as part of its nuclear program, and noted that despite the current calm at Israel's northern border, there is a struggle between Hezbollah and UNIFIL in Lebanon's south.


The chief of staff added that every effort should be made to ensure that no more flotillas set sail for Gaza.


"Now a Lebanese flotilla with women and parliament members is getting organized. Israel and the IDF are trying to prevent its departure in open and covert ways. We sent a message to the Lebanese government that it will be held accountable for the flotilla and its consequences."


Ashkenazi added that the Eiland committee appointed to probe the raid will soon complete its work.


"The soldiers operated professionally and courageously from the first moment," he said.


פרסום ראשון: 07.06.10, 15:49
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