Israeli and Turkish flags.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In another sign of rapprochement between Jerusalem and Ankara, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan met this week with Turkish Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar.
According to a report in the Hurriyet Daily News, the meeting took place on January 17 on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels and was the first time senior military officers from both countries met since the Israeli Navy’s botched raid on the Mavi Marmara in 2010. Golan was in Brussels to participate in the opening of Israel’s new mission in NATO headquarters.
Israel and Turkey signed an agreement ending over five years of a diplomatic freeze on ties last year and Eitan Naeh, Israel’s new ambassador to Turkey, arrived in Ankara in December.
The ties between the two countries, which reached a “golden age” in the late 1990s and early 2000s before the election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as prime minister, deteriorated sharply following Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, and went into a tailspin following the 2010 Mavi Marmara
Nine Turkish nationals were killed after IDF commandos faced violent resistance when they boarded the boat to keep it from reaching Gaza. Turkey immediately recalled its ambassador at the time.
Israeli defense ties with Turkey used to include participation in annual and joint navy and air force drills. In addition, Turkey used to be one of Israel’s primary arms customers with Israeli firms upgrading Turkish tanks and supplying Turkey with drones and advanced missile systems.