JERUSALEM – A representative appointed by Turkey’s Defense Ministry has been sent to Israel in order to procure Israeli made weapons and aircraft equipment as a condition for the return to normalized relations between the two countries, Arab media reported Wednesday.
According to Kuwati based newspaper publication al-Jarida, Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz sent a special envoy Tuesday to meet with Israel’s security echelon in order to negotiate financial terms concerning weapons sales.
Israel in turn has demanded to know whether the weapons were intended to attack Kurdish rebels positioned on the Turkish-Syrian border, according to the report.
The Turkish government made clear that the weapons sales, including the purchasing of unmanned aerial vehicles, was part of a wider framework agreement in which the two countries would normalize relations, according to the al-Jardia report.
Israel has yet to respond to the Turkish request, waiting to see if Ankara was still committed to honoring previous agreements to buy gas from the Jewish state. In turn, Turkey has yet to respond to Israeli inquiries concerning the use of UAV’s against the Kurds.
In response to reports that Turkey and Israel were close to reaching an agreement in returning to normalized relations, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said earlier this week that it was difficult to proceed in negotiations between the nations if Turkey continues to support the terrorist organizations Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
“I am not sure if we can arrive to an agreement” if they continue funding these extremist organizations, Ya’alon said. “They must comply with the terms of our agreement so that we can overcome these obstacles,” he added.
Turkish-Israel relations soured in May 2010 after an Israeli raid on a Turkish boat, the Mavi Marmara, saw ten people killed as the vessel attempted to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip.
After the Mavi Marmara incident, then prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan put three condition on a normalization of ties: an Israeli apology, compensation and a lifting of the blockade of Gaza.
Netanyahu apologized in 2013 and the issue of compensation has apparently been resolved. Israeli officials have said Israel would not lift the blockade, which it sees as of cardinal importance to its security, to please Erdogan.
Source: Jerusalem Post