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The NATO weapons repository, aka the Republic of Turkey

Find the Mavi Marmara. (DAILY NEWS graphic, Emine YILMAZ; SOURCE: Daily News research)

News from Turkey on this first day of 2011: Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has characterized NATO plans for a missile defense system as being in the interest of Turkish national security.

Today’s issue of Today’s Zaman provides a summary of negotiations leading up to the Turkish declaration of support for the project:

Turkey formally backed the planned system during a summit of NATO leaders in Lisbon in November. The summit came after months of discussions between Turkey and mainly the US over some aspects of the planned shield, most notably whether countries such as Turkey’s neighbors Iran and Syria will be named as potential threats. Ankara insisted that the proposed system should provide protection for all territories of member states and that reference to any country would undermine the defensive nature of the planned shield by antagonizing the country or countries singled out as a threat. Turkish insistence paid off in the end as the NATO summit endorsed the missile defense system plans without naming any country as a potential threat.”

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Israeli Behavior does not Endanger Turkish Lives

Israeli-manufactured drones will help maintain Turkish hillside slogans proclaiming that the homeland will never be partitioned.

A Haaretz article entitled “Ashkenazi visits Ankara as ties with Turkey warm up,” concerning yesterday’s attendance by Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi at the NATO-sponsored International Symposium on Global Terrorism and International Cooperation, explains the present need for warming as follows:

Relations were damaged six months ago after Turkey’s decision to cancel Israel’s participation in international exercises in which Israeli planes were due to take part.”

The extent of the damage is called into question by an Al Jazeera English article from two months ago entitled “Barak in Turkey to repair ties,” which additionally reports that “Turkish officials are currently in Israel to test unmanned drone aircraft that Israeli companies have manufactured for Turkey’s army.” The article acknowledges that “[t]he project has been long delayed over technical problems and political tensions” and goes on to explain that the January 17 visit to Ankara of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was “the highest-level bilateral visit since a diplomatic feud erupted over Israel’s recent treatment of the Turkish ambassador,” Oğuz Çelikkol.

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