|Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Israel of failing to meet its obligations in defense deals, saying Israel had not returned drones that Turkey had bought and sent back for maintenance.|
|“Israel is not being loyal to bilateral agreements in the defense industry,” he told reporters. “There could be difficulties, problems with another country, such things may happen, but there is an international code of ethics that needs to be upheld in business agreements,” he said.
Erdoğan’s comments add to tensions with Israel, which have escalated since an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla killed nine people last year. Last week, Turkey announced a set of measures against Israel after it refused to offer an apology for a deadly raid on an aid ship trying to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza on May 31, 2011. It expelled the Israeli ambassador and other senior officials and suspended military agreements.
Erdoğan said on Tuesday that more sanctions could be imposed and that trade ties have also been suspended, but officials at the Prime Ministry said he referred to the defense industry.
On Wednesday, Erdoğan said Turkey would not care if the sanctions prove costly for Turkey because it is national pride that is at stake. “The cost could be $15 or $150 million. We as Turkey would not be bothered by this. What is important for us is that we don’t let anyone trample our pride,” he said.
Erdoğan also played down the harassment of Turkish tourists in Israel, saying it is a “temporary” issue, but added that Israeli treatment of Turks reveals “Israel’s character.”
07 September 2011, Wednesday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM