Royal Saudi Air Force to take part in Anatolian Eagle exercise

The Royal Saudi Air Force will participate in this year’s Anatolian Eagle military training exercise, which will begin next month in the central Anatolian province of Konya, a newspaper in Saudi Arabia has reported.

This year the participation of the Royal Saudi Air Force, which joined last year’s Anatolian Eagle exercise as an observer, will be a first. Jordan, Pakistan, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Turkey are other participants in the exercise which will run June 13-24.

Saudi Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Ayish and Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled Bin Sultan are expected to travel to Turkey for the Anatolian Eagle exercise.

The report published in Saudi Arabia by the Al Jazirah newspaper highlighted that the exercise carries the utmost importance, while citing earlier remarks by Prince Khaled.

These kinds of exercises to be carried out with Arab, Muslim and friendly countries will bring in a significant contribution to the air forces in regards to gaining combative capabilities, the Saudi prince was quoted as saying in remarks delivered earlier.

In the fall of 2009, the Turkish military changed the Anatolian Eagle exercise, which is a joint international military exercise and which was to have included Israel, into a national military exercise, in a move widely seen as a way to exclude Israel.

A delay in the delivery of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Turkey from Israel was linked to the tension sparked by this cancellation, which is contrary to popular speculation that the delay was due to Turkey’s disapproval of Israel’s devastating offensive against the Gaza Strip in the winter of 2008/2009.