Erdogan bars IDF flights over Turkey

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June 29, 2010 03:58

J’lem officials: Turkish PM not exactly inspiring Israeli efforts to improve ties.

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan moved

Turkey Airspace 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is giving Israel absolutely no motivation to do anything to try and improve relations with Ankara because of a sense in Jerusalem that no matter what it does, Erdogan will look for another reason to lambast Israel, diplomatic sources said on Monday.

The comments came after Erdogan told reporters in Toronto, where he was taking part in the G-20 meeting, that Turkey imposed a ban on Israeli flights following the May 31 raid on the Turkish ship trying to break the Gaza blockade.

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Erdogan did not elaborate on the ban, but later Turkish officials were quoted as saying the ban was for military flights, not commercial ones.

The official said that this was not a blanket ban, and that each request would be assessed on a case by case basis.

Israeli officials said a ban on civilian flights would be tantamount to a declaration of war, and did not seem to be what Erdogan intended.

The officials added that Israel, which a few years ago conducted IAF training in Turkish skies, stopped that practice two or three years ago when relations with Ankara began to erode. The officials said the number of military flights over Turkey now is very limited.

According to press reports, Turkey recently prevented an IDF cargo plane carrying 100 officers to a ceremony in Auschwitz from entering its airspace.

Erdogan has said that Turkish- Israeli ties would not return to normal until Israel apologized for the raid on the Gaza flotilla, paid compensation to those killed and wounded in the operation, and agreed to the establishment of an international investigation.

Israel has made clear, the officials said, that it had no intention of doing any of the above, and also feels that even if the differences over the flotilla could be paved over, Erdogan would look for other issues to latch onto in order to bash Israel, since he has apparently made a strategic decision to shift his country’s foreign policy orientation eastward, away from Israel and the West.

No comment could be obtained on Monday from the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv.


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