Known and unknown incidents prove Turkey and Israel have come closer to war than you might believe

Listing a series of episodes, website highlighted how Turkey and Israel, once close allies, have become enemies in the last 3 years.

As a consequence of the diplomatic crisis caused by the Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla and the killing of nine Turkish activists, the Israeli Air Force was excluded from Anatolian Eagle drills in Konya and major Turkish procurement programs were cancelled (as LOROP Condor ΙΙ and EL/M-2060P ) or delayed (UAV Heron, ESM for Turkish AEW&C etc).

Moreover, many incidents have been recorded since 2011:

Jul. 9, 2011: According to the leaked material on Dailymotion (Μay 2012), a UAV Heron was detected flying close to the Kurtnasır battery on the Turkish-Syrian border. The Israeli drone was “locked” by HAWK and KMS Zipkin air defense systems.

Sept. 13, 2011: The Turkish newspaper Star Gazete says the Turkish Air Force changed the IFF (identification system friendship or enemy aircraft) of its F-16s so as to categorize Heyl Ha’Avir planes as hostile.

Sept. 29, 2011: Vatan newspaper claims that IAF tracked R/V Piri Reis, a seismographic ship sailed to the Eastern Mediterranean and accompanied by Turkish Navy vessels to carry out a series of surveys. According to reports, two F-15 came in 15 miles from the coast of Mersin and the nightly hours of Sept. 29, flew at low altitude in the area and harassed the Piri Reis. After two Turkish F-16s scrambled, the Israeli F-15 withdraw from the area.

Nov. 14, 2011: Turkish sources reported that a fisherman found parts of an Israeli  UAV Heron in the net off Southern Turkey. The Heron apparently belonged to the Israeli Air Force and the discovered parts were expected to be taken to Ankara so that the Turkish General Staff could launch an investigation into the episode.

Image credit: IAF

Jan. 3, 2012: Today’s Zaman newspaper revealed that Israeli Heron conducted reconnaissance flight in the province Hatay. The unmanned aircraft flew about four hours over the area as observed spying above the 14th Hawk B. Brigade Command. The drone was hovering over the brigade command post in order to capture pictures of missile batteries and radar equipment. On 9 April a leaked video on Youtube revealed conversations between officers who handled the case and it cames out that Lt. Gen. Mehmet Veysi Ağar was fully informed about the situation, he banned the use of weapons and ordered them to switch off the radars. Second Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Mehmet Veysi Ağar retired last August because he was responsible for last year’s Uludere incident.

Jan. 17, 2012: Zaman newspaper claimed that an Israeli UAV Heron was identified in the previous two months flying over Hatay and Adana provinces. According to the report, the UAV collected information on the installation of the Turkish Armed Forces in the region.

Jan. 19, 2012: Leaked material reveals that during the night hours of Jan. 19 over the province Hatay, Turkish F-16 and Israeli F-15 aircraft were involved in a dogfight. The 2nd Air Force headquarters in Diyarbakir detected “unknown” tracks over the Hatay province and two F-16 Block 40 of 182 Filo “Atmaca” were scrambled. A KC-135A by 101 Filo was in the area as well to provide support to the interceptors.

February 2012: Israel eyes Cyprus for military air base

Mar. 5, 2012: Newspaper Habertürk claimes that Turkish Air Force decided to the encrypt all communications as it was found that Israeli intelligence services had been listening conversations between pilots and radar stations. Specifically targeted by the Israelis were the Konya airbase’s flying ops.

May 14, 2012: The Turkish Armed Forces announced that an Israeli aircraft was flying in the airspace over the occupied Cypriot territories.

Jul. 6, 2012: Vatan newspaper reveales that two F-16s scrambled as an Israeli F-15 was approaching the Turkish territories.

Last and most interesting case:

Feb. 23, 2010: Two Turkish F-5 aircraft are conducting night training flight over Konya, central Turkey when they discover the presence of two aircraft. As it comes out by the leaked material, Turkish General Staff launched an investigation on the incident, but Lt. G. Korcan Pulatsü, head of the Eskişehir 1st Air Forces Command, and Major General Nezih Damcı, Deputy Commander of 1st Air Forces Command “covered up” the case. The interesting past of the video is that after 3:20 someone talks with the Greek Cypriot dialogue and the Turkish pilot asks: “Have the Greeks come till Konya?” Skorpios is the callsign for the Cypriot National Guard attack helicopters SA342L Gazelle

Furthermore, in the week between Oct. 21 – 26 there will be an joint excercise in Larissa Air Base with about ten Israeli F-16Is and HAF’s 337 Sq. in response to a last year exercise in Israel:

[Source: Strategy Reports]

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.