Has Turkey agreed to Israeli participation in NATO activities to get Patriot missiles on its border with Syria?
Turkey lifts veto on Israel’s NATO activities despite tensions: report
Monday, 24 December 2012 By AL ARABIYA
“Turkey has reportedly agreed to Israeli participation in NATO activities in order to get Patriot missiles on its border with Syria, the Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.
The Israeli newspaper said Israel will join a 2013 NATO military drill in Turkey, despite tense diplomatic ties between the two states.
“At the last minute – and I think it was dependent on the Patriots – it was approved,” an Israeli military official told the newspaper on condition of anonymity, referring to Turkey’s request to position the defensive missile batteries along its border with Syria.
However, there has been no “total solution” of the standoff between Ankara and Tel Aviv, the source added.
Turkey, a full NATO member, has repeatedly scrambled jets along the countries’ joint frontier and has responded in kind when shells from Syria came down inside its borders, fanning fears that the civil war could spread to destabilize the region.
On Sunday, NATO said in a statement that the deployment of Patriot air defense systems in Turkey will be defensive only and will not support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.
“Its aim is to deter any threats to Turkey, to defend Turkey’s population and territory and to de-escalate the crisis on NATO’s south-eastern border,” the NATO statement added.
But ultimately, Turkey has previously opposed to increasing Israel’s participation within the military alliance as ties between the two countries deteriorated, according to NATO officials, notes the Post.
Turkish-Israeli relations took a hit after a Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2010 that left several Turkish citizens dead after Israel Navy commandos boarded the ship trying to break the Gaza blockade.
Since then, NATO has pushed for the two states to reconcile and smooth over frictions.”
Monday, 24 December 2012 By AL ARABIYA
Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz attending a Gulf Cooperation Summit in Bahrain on Monday expressed the kingdom’s hope for the declaration of a Gulf union.
Prince Salman said the kingdom aspires for a strong and solid union with shared defense and security systems.
Monday’s meeting was chaired by Bahrain foreign minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, and attended by his counterparts from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The two-day meeting, on Dec. 24-25, will cover areas including “military cooperation, environmental protection and accelerating the steps leading to the economic unity,” Sheikh Khalifa told Qatari daily Al-Sharq.
An integrated economic unit for the GCC would be the main focus of the talks, the minister added.
A preparatory session before the two-day summit, presented a number of recommendations which stress that GCC decisions on economic agreements should soon be implemented.
Last week, Bahrain said an announcement over a union of the six member states would not be made at the summit.
A Gulf Union would supersede the existing GCC and bring member states even closer.
At the two-day summit, the 22-month-old Syria conflict is expected to also top the agenda.
In November, the six Gulf states recognized a newly-formed opposition bloc as the Syrian people’s legitimate representative.
The GCC members — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — were the first to recognize the opposition coalition.
“The states of the council announce recognizing the National Coalition… as the legitimate representative of the brotherly Syrian people,” GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani said.
He said the oil-rich bloc would support the coalition in the hope that “this will be a step towards a quick political transfer of power.”