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Monday, 2 February 2009

Israel hints at curbing Turkey arms deals

A senior Israeli official says Tel Aviv is likely to reject an arms order by Ankara after the Turkish prime minister's Davos remarks.

An Israeli defense ministry official told The Jerusalem Post that several Turkish requests for purchasing advanced military platforms, which were recently submitted to the Defense Ministry will need to be reviewed due to the change in political ties.

"Just like we don't sell advanced military platforms to Jordan and Egypt, we may decide not to sell to Turkey," the official told the daily.

The official, however, did not reveal what new military platforms Turkey had requested.

The relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv began to strain after Turkish officials started criticizing Israel's 23-day war in the Gaza Strip. The tension between the two side reached its peak after Erdogan stormed out of the Davos forum in front of Israeli President Shimon Peres and UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

Before marching off the stage, Erdogan had said that Israel committed "barbarian" acts in Gaza, and had lashed out at the audience for applauding Peres's remarks made in defense of the war.

Turkey and Israel had a strong partnership in military equipment and arms deals. The trade volume between Ankara and Tel Aviv was at USD 2.6 billion in 2007 and some suggest that USD 1.8 billion of the sum was attributed to military equipment trade.