Turkey Suspends Defense Industry Ties to Israel

Turkey has suspended all defense industry ties with Israel and has halted all trade as well, pending a decision on permanently suspending trade, the country’s prime minister announced.

“Trade ties, military ties, regarding defense industry ties, we are completely suspending them. This process will be followed by different measures,” Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday, according to news agencies.

Erdogan also said that Turkish Navy ships will have a heightened presence in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

Israeli diplomats who have not yet left Turkey have until Wednesday to do so, the prime minister said. Israel’s ambassador to Turkey had finished his term and had planned to return to Israel. No replecement had yet been named.

Erdogan also said that he may visit Gaza through Egypt after a visit to Cairo later this month, according to Reuters.

Many of the sanctions already had been announced by Turkey’s foreign minister on Sept. 2, the same day as the United Nations released the Palmer report, an investigation into Israel’s May 2010 boarding of the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara in which nine Turkish nationals were killed. The report found that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is legal but that Israeli commandoes used excessive force in confromnting the passengers.

Israel has refused to apologize for the raid, but has expressed “regret” for the deaths.

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Turkey Suspends Defense Industry Ties to Israel

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