06 September 2010

US Bails on Turkish Exercises... over Israel?

The US is skipping October air force exercises with Turkey and there are conflicting reports about why.

The United States will not take part in upcoming air drills in Turkey, a US embassy official said Wednesday, as media reports said Washington had conditioned its presence on Israeli attendance.
The US Air Force will not join the October exercises, the official told AFP, saying they had already taken part in the previous edition of the drills in June.
The official would not comment on Turkish media reports that Washington had said it would shun the drills if Ankara failed to invite also Israel, excluded from the exercises amid bilateral tensions with Turkey, once a close ally.
The US message was conveyed to Ankara after invitations were sent out to several countries but not Israel for the "Anatolian Eagle" drills, held since 2001 in central Turkey, unnamed sources told the Hurriyet newspaper.
The Turkish army's press office would not comment on the issue.
Last year, Turkey for the first time excluded Israel from the exercises amid tensions over the Jewish state's devastating offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Turkey eventually cancelled the international section of the drills without explanation after the United States reportedly pulled out.

By: Brant

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