'Turkey not worried by Israeli reaction'

Ankara not seeking any other country's consent to hold military drill with Syria, says Turkish army chief.

By AP,
April 29, 2009 17:12
'Turkey not worried by Israeli reaction'

Ilker Basbug 248 88 ap. (photo credit: AP)

Turkish military chief Gen. Ilker Basbug said Wednesday that he is not concerned about Israel's reaction to a joint drill involving Turkish and Syrian soldiers. Defense Minister Ehud Barak called this week's exercise a worrisome development. Basbug told reporters Wednesday he was "not concerned by Israel's reaction," and Turkey was not seeking any other country's consent. The drill, the first-ever between Turkey and Syria, ends Wednesday and marks improvement in once strained ties between both countries. On Monday, however, a senior Israeli strategic analyst told The Jerusalem Post that the Turkish military was "not happy" about the drill. "It does not like Syria, and views it as a problematic state," said Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University. Inbar added that he was in touch with a number of Turkish army officers. Tensions between the secular Turkish military and the ruling Islamist AKP party are high following the arrests of more than 200 people, including dozens of senior army officers, over an alleged coup plot to overthrow the government. Last week, four additional army officers were arrested and an arms cache was seized by the Turkish authorities.


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