Turkey lifts veto on Israel’s NATO activities despite tensions: report
Turkey has reportedly agreed to Israeli participation in NATO activities in order to get Patriot missiles on its border with Syria, the Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.
The Israeli newspaper said Israel will join a 2013 NATO military drill in Turkey, despite tense diplomatic ties between the two states.
“At the last minute – and I think it was dependent on the Patriots – it was approved,” an Israeli military official told the newspaper on condition of anonymity, referring to Turkey’s request to position the defensive missile batteries along its border with Syria.
However, there has been no “total solution” of the standoff between Ankara and Tel Aviv, the source added.
Turkey, a full NATO member, has repeatedly scrambled jets along the countries' joint frontier and has responded in kind when shells from Syria came down inside its borders, fanning fears that the civil war could spread to destabilize the region.
On Sunday, NATO said in a statement that the deployment of Patriot air defense systems in Turkey will be defensive only and will not support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.
“Its aim is to deter any threats to Turkey, to defend Turkey’s population and territory and to de-escalate the crisis on NATO’s south-eastern border,” the NATO statement added.
But ultimately, Turkey has previously opposed to increasing Israel’s participation within the military alliance as ties between the two countries deteriorated, according to NATO officials, notes the Post.
Turkish-Israeli relations took a hit after a Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2010 that left several Turkish citizens dead after Israel Navy commandos boarded the ship trying to break the Gaza blockade.
Since then, NATO has pushed for the two states to reconcile and smooth over frictions.