Israel ‘Disloyal’ to Turkey Defence Contracts

The Turkish prime minister has accused Israel of lacking "trade ethics" in bilateral military contracts.

"Israel has shown disloyalty in our bilateral agreements in the defence industry area," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, referring to a military agreement on Turkey’s purchase of Israeli drones.

"For example, unmanned aerial vehicles were purchased and they were sent back for further maintenance. [The Israelis] are still delaying the delivery.

"Is this moral?" Erdogan said.

Once-close relations between the two countries deteriorated last week when Turkey expelled Israeli diplomats and "totally suspended" defence, trade and military ties with Israel over the country’s refusal to apologise for a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Israel expressed "regret" for the loss of the lives – of eight Turks and a US national of Turkish descent – but refused to apologise for what they say was "an act of self defence".

‘Arab Spring Tour’

Tensions could further escalate between Israel and Turkey with Erdogan’s upcoming tour of three Arab countries – Egypt, Libya and Tunisia – with a possible stop in Gaza.

Turkey’s prime minister will embark on a four-day tour on September 12 to discuss "opportunities for co-operation" with the countries undergoing democratic transitions, Erdogan’s office said on Wednesday.

The trip will be focused on boosting economic co-operation with and Turkish investments in the three countries, such as resuming building projects in Libya that were worth more than $15bn prior to the rebellion that ousted Muammar Gaddafi.

On Tuesday, Erdogan said he might pay a visit to Hamas-ruled Gaza, entering via neighbouring Egypt.

"We are talking with the Egyptians on this matter. A trip to Gaza is not finalised yet," he said.
(Agencies via Al Jazeera)

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