Israel is about to offer missiles and advanced technology to Turkish in exchange for Ankara’s allowing the Israeli Air Force to use a base northeast of the capital, which is approximately 1,000 miles from the border with Iran, according to the Sunday Times of London.
It said that National Security Council chairman Yaakov Amidror will visit Turkey on Monday to try to put an end to the bitter differences between Turkey and Israel over the Mavi Mamara flotilla clash three years ago.
“Until the recent crisis, Turkey was our biggest aircraft carrier,” an Israeli military source told the London newspaper. “Using the Turkish airbases could make the difference between success and failure once a showdown with Iran gets underway.”
Iran is a mutual fear for both countries, and President Barack Obama used his visit last month to Israel to put an end to the diplomatic crisis that began to develop during the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist maneuvers against Hamas-controlled Gaza, when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned Israel from a long-term friend into a new enemy. He then embraced both Syria and Iran until realizing last year he chose the wrong side.
Israel is helping him climb down from the diplomatic tree and in principle has agreed to Erdogan’s demand to compensate the families of the nine Turkish IHH members who carried out a brutal pore-mediated attack on Israeli Navy commandos who boarded their ship virtually unarmed to keep it from sailing to embargoed-Gaza. After the IHH attackers kidnapped three commandos and wounded them and several others, the Israeli force overtook them, killing nine IHH terrorists.
The London newspaper reported that Amidror’s mission is to re-open a 1996 Israeli-Turkish agreement that allows the Israel Air Force to train in Turkey’s air space and use the Akinci Air Base, northeast of Ankara. In return, Turkish pilots were allowed to train at Air Force bases in the Negev.
With the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon staring at in its face, Turkey wants Israel’s advanced technology and missiles, such as the Arrow, to beef up its defense not only against missiles from Iran but also from Syria.
Turkey is very worried by Iran’s missile ambitions,” the Israeli source told the Sunday Times. “With Israeli know-how based on the Jericho ballistic missiles, the time frame will be cut short.”