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Syria and Turkey held three days of joint military exercises earlier this week, raising some concerns within the Israeli defense establishment about the strengthening ties between the two countries. Recent political relations between Ankara and Damascus were under pressure over water problems and the so-called Alexandretta dispute.The military exercise, allegedly focused only on border protection, as the two nations share a common border. The Turkish military is concerned with Kurdish PKK rebels using this arid border region to infiltrate insurgent elements against Turkey.Meanwhile tension between Israel and Turkey have significantly grown since Operation Cast Lead, culminating by ousting the Israeli Air Force from the year-long joint 'Anatolian Eagle' exercise. Nevertheless, while the political rhetoric in Ankara is still hard against Jerusalem, the Turkish-Israeli defense relations remain virtually intact. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi flew to Ankara for talks with his Turkish counterpart, Gen. Ilker Basbug. The deputy Turkish chief of staff is scheduled to visit Israel in the coming months.Turkey has expressed interest in a number of advanced Israeli platforms - such as the Namer armored personnel carrier and the Barak 8 missile defense system for its navy. The two countries are also continuously pursuing joint business ventures, including a large project envisaged with Colombia for upgraded M-60 tanks, a type recently handed to the Turkish Army.Credits: Ankara official, Syrian Army photo (Wikipedia)
ar99, Israel, Syria, Turkey
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