Israel ''unaware'' of new Turkish decision to freeze contracts
Israeli sources said they were "unaware" of any decision by Turkey to freeze contracts with Israeli firms, as reported by the Beirut-based Al Mustaqbal on Saturday.
The sources added the report contradicted messages recently delivered to Israel by the Turks. Turkish Foreign Ministry Abdullah Gul met about two weeks ago his Israeli peer, Silvan Shalom, in Dublin and told him that Ankara was interested in expanding relations with Tel Aviv.
According to the Lebanese report, the decision was made last week, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presiding over the meeting of the "supreme authority of military industries" for the first time. Erdogan is believed to be behind the decision, the report added.
According to the new decision, contracts which have been inked and those that are in the implementation process, will not be expanded. The deal to sell Turkish water to Israel is not expected to be implemented, according to the newspaper.
Sources in Ankara told the Arabic daily that the decision, which also includes the cancellation of military tenders with the United States, is part of the new Turkish policy, "which rejects strategic military cooperation with Israel." The Turkish move came to protest Israel’s attacks on the Hamas leadership, and "Sharon government’s refusal to cooperate in the peace process.”
Among others, Israel and Turkey have signed contracts for the upgrading of the Turkish army's aircraft and tank fleets, and the purchase of 12 remotely-piloted vehicles. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)