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Israelis in Turkish operations against Kurds

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    Report: Israeli crews manning UAVs in Turkish operations against Kurds http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/938757.html Crews from Israel Aerospace Industries,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2008
      Report: Israeli crews manning UAVs in Turkish operations against Kurds

      Crews from Israel Aerospace Industries, operating unmanned aerial
      vehicles, are participating in Turkish military operations against PKK
      militants in northern Iraq, according to Turkish reports to be
      published today in the Turkish Daily News.

      Ten days ago, the Turkish television station Star reported that IAI
      Heron UAVs are being used in the offensive against the Kurds.

      The same report stated that Turkey's Chief of Staff, General Yasar
      Buyukanit, had observed the UAVs' operations in real time, in the
      operations room of the Batman air force base near the border with
      Iraq. The intelligence relayed by the UAVs was used by the Turkish Air
      Force in targeting the Kurdish militants.

      However, in the Turkish Daily News report, a Turkish military source
      is quoted expressing criticism that the IAI and Elbit, which is also
      part of the Heron program, have failed to meet their contractual
      obligations and have delayed the supply of UAVs ordered for the
      Turkish Air Force in 2005.

      "The delays have left the TuAF critically short of UAVs when
      intelligence input from those valuable reconnaissance assets are
      exceedingly required," the Turkish military official was quoted as saying.

      According to the Turkish newspaper, the presence of the Israeli crews
      is an interim solution that was offered following the delay in the
      delivery of the UAVs.

      IAI offered to lease Herons operated by Israeli crews, for $10
      million, for a period of 12 months.

      In 2004, a contract was signed between the Turkish government and a
      Turkish firm, on the one hand, and IAI and Elbit, to jointly develop
      the Heron. The original agreement stated that the delivery of the UAVs
      would begin in October 2007, however Turkish sources now say that they
      will only be available in the spring of 2008.

      The estimated value of the deal is several hundred million dollars.

      In response, an IAI source said that the delay was not caused by the
      Israeli side, and promised that it would meet its contractual commitments.

      The degree of support

      Security sources told Haaretz that as Turkey is carrying out offensive
      operations against the PKK operating in northern Iraq, there is
      increased suspicion in the Turkish government and its defense
      establishment toward the United States and Israel.

      According to the same sources, Turkey is following "very closely"
      every step and statement made by Israel and fears that Jerusalem is
      not supporting it in its action against the Kurds to the degree that
      it expects.

      Turkish suspicions are in great part fueled by the history of Israel
      assisting Kurds in their wars in Iraq during the 1960s and 1970s, as
      well as recent reports that Israeli firms are involved in sales of
      military equipment and training assistance aimed at establishing an
      autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq.

      The reports in the Turkish media about the failure of Israeli firms to
      meet their contractual commitments is likely to increase tensions
      between the two countries, even though an interim solution has been
      provided. On the other hand, the news that Israeli crews are involved
      operating the UAVs used to target Kurds, is not likely to be well
      received by the Kurdish government in northern Iraq.



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