Yadlin: Turkey moving towards radicals

Military intelligence head reports that Islamic republic is enriching kilograms of uranium every day.

January 19, 2010 20:59
2 minute read.
Yadlin: Turkey moving towards radicals

yadlin 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin warned Tuesday that Iran has not yet been deterred on its march to the nuclear bomb, while adding that Turkey is drawing closer to the side of Islamic radicals and away from Israel and the west.

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Iran, said Yadlin, was responsible for the failure of talks regarding its nuclear program. As a result, the international community is preparing to place sanctions on Teheran. But, Yadlin said, "as long as Iran is not under heavy international pressure, Teheran is continuing to advance with its nuclear program."

"The Iranian technological clock on the way to the nuclear program is continuing to tick at a rate of a number of kilograms [of enriched uranium] every day," he cautioned, reiterating assessments made by intelligence community members in the previous year that Iran is enriching uranium at a low level, and is "continuing to advance the nuclear program on a wide track. They are also advancing on the military track, but that is being done secretly."

Israel has no indications in the field that Iran has attempted to build additional nuclear facilities to speed up enrichment, but rather developing more technologically-advanced centrifuges to put in their existing facilities. The more advanced centrifuges, said Yadlin, would accomplish the same purpose as building additional facilities.

Although he did not mention the recent incident involving Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the Turkish ambassador, Yadlin said that "beyond the specific tension, one must understand that the distancing between the two countries is more significant and is related to strategic topics and shared interests."

"In the past, Turkey had ambitions of becoming closer to the west, beyond it's acceptance into NATO," detailed Yadlin. "They wanted to be part of the European market, and they thought that relations with Israel would help them advance in the American market. But then they received a cold shoulder from the Europeans and did not achieve what they wanted. In light of that, they changed their policies and are currently drawing away from secularism and going in a more radical direction. There are still joined strategic interests shared by Turkey and Israel, but it is not the same strategic proximity that they once shared."

Israel and Turkey have also parted ways, he said, regarding their shared neighbor, Syria. In the nineties, Yadlin explained, Turkey saw Syria as an enemy state, a position shared by Israel. But in the ensuing years, Ankara-Damascus relations have warmed, and the two countries have since settled the key disagreements between them.

Yadlin also referred to the situation on Israel's northern border, arguing that Hezbollah recognizes that war with Israel does not enjoy popular support today in the Lebanese street, but is trying to carry out a high-profile assassination in reprisal for the death of top operative Imad Mourghniyeh. Hezbollah, which Yadlin described as "Iran's spearhead in south Lebanon", is different in this regard from other key international terror networks, such as al-Qaida and Islamic Jihad, which are focusing their energy on attacks that would result in mass death of Israeli targets.

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