Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Met His Israeli Counterpart First Time Since…

Turkey’s chief of General Staff, Gen. Hulusi Akar, has met his Israeli counterpart for the first time since the two countries normalized their ties in the wake of the 2010 Mavi Marmara Massacre.

The meeting came on the sidelines of a NATO conference for defense heads between Jan. 17-18 in Brussels, the Turkish Armed Forces said.

Turkey-Israel relations came to breaking point after Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara flotilla, which was aiming to break a naval blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in May 2010, killing 10 Turkish activists on board.

Israel and Turkey had been traditional military partners for years, but the latter froze military cooperation after the Mavi Marmara crisis that led to a breakup in security cooperation as well.

Ankara subsequently exerted efforts to isolate Israel from military cooperation with NATO, excluding the country from joint international military exercises such as the annual Anatolian Eagle exercises. Some defense industry projects were halted following the political crisis, but the Turkish defense industry suffered the most.

In the defense industry, the two carried out joint projects, such as the modernization of the M60 tank and F-4E plane. Israel also sold armed Heron drones to Turkey.

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