MV Rachel Corrie 311.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
In another sign of the deteriorating ties between Israel and Turkey, the Turkish
Defense Ministry informed the IDF over the weekend that it has decided not to
participate in a naval search-and-rescue exercise planned for next
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Called Reliant Mermaid, the annual exercise began 10 years ago and
included the Israeli, Turkish and American navies. The objective of the exercise
is to practice search-and-rescue operations and to familiarize each navy with
international partners who also operate in the Mediterranean Sea.
exercise was held last summer despite the rift that erupted in
relations following Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. But defense
told The Jerusalem Post
Sunday that the IDF had expected Turkey would cancel
the planned drill following the raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla on May
ended with nine dead Turkish nationals.
The officials said that the
Israeli and American navies will still conduct the drill.
This is not the
first time that the Turks have canceled joint drills with the IDF. Last
Israel was removed from the Anatolian Eagle air force exercise, days
was scheduled to begin. As a result, the US Air Force also dropped
Until Operation Cast Lead, the IAF frequently flew in Turkish air
space and participated in several annual exercises with its Turkish