Turkey further restricts cooperation with Israeli Air Force
Turkey's recent decision to prohibit an Israeli military aircraft from crossing its airspace was part of a move towards decreased cooperation with Israel's Air Force, a Turkish government official said Monday.
"I would consider this as a reflection of a way of thinking, of a methodology," a senior government official told the German Press Agency dpa, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
"There is definitely a change," the official added.
Israeli media on Sunday reported that an Air Force jet carrying a large group of officers on their way to Poland for a recent visit was denied permission to fly over Turkey and had to change its route.
Turkey had also blocked Israeli pilots from participating in a multinational military exercise last year, leading to the event's cancellation.
"This can be regarded in the same atmosphere, in the same environment, as the Israeli jets not being given permission to train over Turkish skies, or the Israeli air force not being invited to this or that exercise," the official said.
"This does not mean that the military cooperation or relations with Israel are dead or buried," the official noted. "It has to do with the aerial component of it. It's the Israeli jets that keep bombing the Gaza Strip or South Lebanon."
The once-close relationship between Turkey and Israel started to unravel in the wake of the 2009 Israeli invasion of Gaza. It further deteriorated last month following an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla spearheaded by a Turkish non-governmental organisation, which left nine Turks dead.
Ankara has demanded that Israel officially apologize for the incident, pay compensation to the victims and agree to an international inquiry before relations can be normalized.