Egypt Unhappy with Israel Turkey Military Deal

CAIRO (Reuters)–In commen’s published Thursday–Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Moussa said Egypt was not happy with Turkey’s military deal with the Jewish state because it raised security concerns in the region.

"A military alliance now with Israel will cause grave harm to Turkish-Arab ties–their prospects and to the region’s security framework. That is why we don’t feel comfortable with this alliance," Moussa told the London-based al-Hayat daily.

"We want Turkey to reconsider this alliance even if it comes under pressure and even if this political decision contradicts decisions by other Turkish establishmen’s.

"We have nothing against Turkey’s relations with Israel and are for any cooperation between them along the path that takes into consideration the region’s moves towards peace and not war–unless the Turks have different ideas," he added.

Egypt and Arab countries have expressed concern at growing military cooperation between Ankara and Israel–which they blame for the deadlock in Middle East peacemaking.

Last week a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Tehran–which included many Arab ministers and heads of state–urged Moslem states with military cooperation agreemen’s with Israel to reconsider them.

Turkey signed a military deal with the Jewish state in 1996 but it insists it is not a threat to any nation.

Syria–which feels particularly threatened by Turkish military cooperation with Israel–said last week it did not want confrontation with Ankara–but added that Turkey was risking its ties with its Arab neighbors.

Moussa told al-Hayat: "Does Turkey think it can force this alliance on the region? Turkey’s door to the Middle East is through the Arabs and not Israel–so why is it knocking on the wrong door?"

NATO member Turkey–Israel and the United States will hold joint naval maneuvers in the eastern Mediterranean from January 5 to 9. Turkey said the aim was to "develop joint training for sea-air search and rescue operations."

The maneuvers–named Reliant Mermaid–were previously scheduled for October and then for November.

Israeli air force pilots have trained in Turkish skies under the 1996 agreement.

Karadayi–who was due to leave on Thursday–held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Magdi Hetata and was to meet Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri.

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